Seven players from Australia’s rugby league Manly Sea Eagles will not play this week after refusing to wear the club’s unique Pride shirt due to cultural and religious beliefs, the club manager announced today.
The Sydney-based Sea Eagles will wear rainbow-themed uniforms for a crucial game against the Sydney Roosters on Thursday, a move announced earlier this week to encourage inclusion and respect.
It is the first time a National Rugby League club has worn a Pride shirt, showing its support for the LGBTQ community.
But Manly coach Des Hasler apologised for the mistakes we have made and its fallout, saying it was a significant mistake for the club not to consult with players.
According to RTE, the statement reads:
“None of the coaching staff nor the players had prior knowledge of the jersey. They are not wearing the jersey as it conflicts with their cultural and religious beliefs,” Hasler told a press conference.
“The intent of the rainbow colour application of our jersey was to represent diversity and inclusion for all, utilising the symbolic colours of pride to embrace all groups who feel marginalised and faced discrimination and have a suppressed share of voice.
“The jersey intent was to support the advocacy and human rights pertaining to gender, race culture, ability and LGBTQ rights. Sadly, the execution of what was intended to be an extremely important initiative was poor.
“There was little consultation or collaboration with key stakeholder, both inside and outside the club. Sadly, this poor management … has caused significant confusion, discomfort and pain for many people. In particular, those groups whose human rights we were, in fact, attempting to support.
“We have even adversely affected our player group, a wonderful group of people comprising of many different racial and cultural backgrounds. We wish to sincerely apologise for the mistakes we have made.”
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