Cronulla Sharks forward Toby Rudolph echoed calls for an NRL pride round following Manley’s rainbow jersey furor.
The Sea Eagles donned a one-off jersey with rainbow stripes and trim in Thursday’s 10-point loss to the Roosters, but seven club players boycotted the clash because of their religious and cultural beliefs.
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The Sea Eagles gathered a team of 20 people for the match and showed a decent game. losing to their opponents 20-10 as they battle for a place in the top eight.
Rudolf called for the introduction of pride into the NRL, speaking openly about his “fluid” sexuality.
Although Rudolph identifies as heterosexual, he has become a cult hero among Cronulla’s fans. Sydney Morning Herald in a frank interview “love is love and I love to share it with everyone.”
“I didn’t get into the Manley situation,” he said. “What I will say is that I was raised by quite a few members of the gay and lesbian community. My uncle is gay and my godmother is a lesbian and there is so much love in this community.
“Sexuality is very fluid. I’ve been on the street and I’ve kissed a lot of gay men, I’ve kissed a lot of straight women, and I’ve kissed a lot of gay men.
“I’m not a general store. Love is love and I love to share it with everyone. You could say I’m open to both genders, but I’m only attracted to one of them.”
The biggest controversy of Rudolph’s career was his infamous Fox League live TV interview in which he said he would celebrate with “probably about 1,000 bottles of beer”, adding that he would “go to (Cronulla) Northies, try something do. Everything will come down.”
Rudolph was warned NRL CEO Andrew Abdo about his commentsas he quoted “respect for women”.
Speaking to HeraldThe 26-year-old man said: “During this interview, I never said ‘women’.
This comes after ARL Commission Chairman Peter V’landis revealed earlier this week that the NRL is considering launching a pride round.
Speaking at the opening of the Women in League round, V’landis said it could start as early as next year.
“Absolutely. We’re very proud to be a game for everyone,” V’landis said on Tuesday.
“That’s why I’m in this game, because it was difficult for me to be accepted as a migrant and the rugby league accepted me.
“It was inclusive then and inclusive now. It is important that every boy and girl, man and woman can come to the game and feel that they can be treated the same way as everyone else.”
Asked if there was a real possibility of launching a pride, V’landis said, “Absolutely. As I said, we are the best game for everyone; not only for the elite, but for everyone. We recognize these people, absolutely. I have no problem with that.”
Originally published as Sharks star Toby Rudolph reveals his sexuality and maintains pride