NRL 2022: Manly Sea Eagles pride jersey, seven players ready to leave, Eagles vs Roosters

The courageous Sea Eagles were thrown into the turmoil before their Thursday night match against the Sydney Roosters because of their pride jersey.

As many as seven players are reportedly considering withdrawing from the competition due to the club’s inclusive jersey.

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Players are reportedly opposed to wearing the jersey due to religious beliefs and intend to refuse offers that they were not consulted prior to the announcement of the jersey. Daily Telegraphreports.

Players in question include Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu and Josh Aloiai.

Manly officials are set to hold an emergency meeting Monday night with the players as the club faces the dire prospect of contesting a mandatory win without seven of its stars.

The trio of Sean Keppi, Kieran Foran and Reuben Garrick posed happily in an All in the League jersey for the Sea Eagles on Monday.

Manly will be the first club in rugby league history to wear a jersey that celebrates inclusiveness, with rainbow colors replacing the traditional white trim.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the players in question told their managers that they would resign if they were forced to play in a disposable jumper.

The main sponsor of the Manly Sea Eagles is the gaming company Pointsbet, and their home stadium, 4 Pines Park, is named after the brewing company.

Sea Eagles great Ian Roberts, the first openly gay rugby league player, was hoping to attend Thursday’s game.

“LGBTIQ people have always been part of the sport, but they have not always been allowed to be visible,” Roberts said.

“Honestly, for the past three years, I’ve been trying to get the NRL to do a pride round, but it still hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. It makes me sad because they think the Mardi Gras float is enough, and it’s not.”

The accusatory report caused a strong reaction on social networks, with fans outraged that the players could leave because of the jersey.

Matt Bungard of Wide World of Sports wrote, “I don’t want to hear anything about ‘respecting other people’s opinions’ or using religion as a crutch to hide being homophobic. No problem playing in a stadium filled with alcohol and gambling sponsors, which is also a sin. Well, it’s a joke.”

Tom Reid of Spalk Talk wrote, “As a courageous fan, I would more than agree if these players didn’t play the game or ever again for the club.”

Townsville Bulletin editor Chris McMahon wrote, “I don’t care if this derails Manly’s season, but if these whips are out of this game over an inclusive jersey, they should be fired for a season without pay.” As an avid supporter of @SeaEagles, that’s enough for me to pack pretty much everything.”

Originally published as Seven Manly Sea Eagles players could retire over club pride jersey