A group of seven Manly players will boycott Thursday night’s NRL game against the Sydney Roosters over the Sea Eagles’ decision to wear an inclusive shirt.
The Sea Eagles announced on Sunday night that they would be wearing an LGBTQI sweater for the crucial game, with a rainbow design replacing the stripe’s white piping.
But the move has caused unrest among religious members of the players’ group who are unhappy they were not consulted by the club’s management.
Kieran Foran, Reuben Garrick and Sean Keppie were among those who helped kick off the tape, but other players say they learned of the move on social media on Sunday night.
Congratulations to the Manly Sea Eagles for the rainbow jersey initiative, now the test is this just a facade or a true statement of inclusion.
– ☮️💧 Sleeping Giants Oz 📣 (@slpng_giants_oz) July 25, 2022
The Sea Eagles board met Monday night to discuss the players’ concerns, but the club chose not to issue an official statement on the matter.
Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler and captain Daly Cherry-Evans will be before the media on Tuesday, but Hasler would support the players’ decision to sit out the game.
The 20th inning game promises to be crucial for Manly, with the Roosters and Sea Eagles tied for eighth and ninth respectively and separated only by points for and against.
After losing to fellow final contenders St George Illawarra last week, the Sea Eagles can ill afford another defeat, with tough games against Parramatta, Cronulla and Canberra to follow.
7 manly players won’t play this weekend
— Michael Chammas (@MichaelChammas) July 25, 2022
Earlier this year, AFLW player Haneen Zreika opted to miss Pride Round rather than wear Sydney’s Greater West Guernsey pride, citing her religious beliefs.