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Manly footballers boycott game over gay pride jerseys

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7 players are set to miss this week’s NRL game against the Sydney Roosters as they refuse to wear the gay pride jersey on the grounds of religious beliefs.

Players named are Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolutau Koula and Toafofoa Sipley.

According to journalist Paul Kent, the players had no prior knowledge about the one-off jerseys and the club had made the decision without sharing the concept with the players beforehand.

“The players, according to my understanding, not all of them but many of them only became aware they were wearing these jerseys when they read about it in the newspaper,” Kent said on NRL 360.

“Because of their own cultural and religious beliefs, some of them have an issue with it’

The Manly club did this without any consultation of the players, they did it without board approval. It’s a marketing decision and they’ve just assumed everything was ok.

“The club has imposed its own politics on these players and these players have inadvertently been embroiled in this scandal and they will be, hopefully, protected. But they will be under pressure now through no fault of their own”

“It’s an embarrassing look for the club and it’s a difficult one. This talk about inclusion, wearing the Manly jersey for me is inclusion”

“To inflict their own political views on the players who may not share that and are now being forced to deal with the consequences of that is a real oversight by the club and it’s something they should be embarrassed about.”

On social media, Kyle and Jackie O and Matt Bungard from Wide World of Sports have all hit back at the player’s decisions with harsh condemnation for their personal beliefs.

“I don’t want to hear one single thing about ‘respecting other people’s opinions’ or using religion as a crutch to hide behind while being homophobic. No issues playing at a stadium covered in alcohol and gambling sponsors, which is also a sin. What a joke.” Matt Bungard said

Former Sea Eagle star Ian Roberts who was the first league player to open up about sexuality said he was broken-hearted about the player’s decisions that had left him feeling sad and uncomfortable

“I try to see it from all perspectives but this breaks my heart,” Roberts said to The Daily Telegraph.

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