Retired NRL international Jordan Kahu has taken Manly players to task for refusing to wear a rainbow-adorned jersey.
And Roosters coach Trent Robinson has also spoken out against the saga, saying his club would happily support the LGBTQ community in any way possible.
Seven first-graders and reportedly a number of lower grade players chose to make themselves unavailable for selection rather than wear a jersey that celebrates inclusiveness and diversity in rugby league.
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On Monday, Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler was forced to front a large media pack, where he apologized for “significant mistakes” and revealed players and coaching staff were not consulted about the jersey design.
The players who refuse to wear the jersey are doing so on cultural and religious grounds.
Kahu, though, is having none of it.
The former New Zealand Test star took to Instagram to slam the players.
“You want to pick and choose when you want to stand. You want to pick and choose when you want to be inclusive,” Kahu wrote.
“These humans don’t get to pick and choose who they are! You ‘stand’ with these players? They don’t even know who the f— you are and won’t even see it.
“But someone who does know you might see it, someone whose (sic) been struggling with telling everyone the truth.
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“Why? Because they’re made to feel they’re not normal. And then what might they do?
“Quick Google search and you can find that there are nine-year-olds taking their own life because of this shit. F—ing nine! What if this was your kid?”
On Tuesday, gay rugby league icon Ian Roberts also spoke about the far-reaching effects the Manly boycott may have on LGBTQ people.
“This is brutal language to hear, but there are kids in the suburbs killing themselves,” Roberts told media.
Robinson – who will coach against Manly on Thursday night – could not believe how the saga played out.
He says he would fully support the Roosters wearing a pride jumper, and believes rugby league needs to do everything it can to support LGBTQ communities.
“It’s unfortunate that in 2022 we’re still having this conversation,” Robinson said.
“I think it’s great what the owners of Manly have decided to do. It’s unfortunate that it’s panned out this way.
Ian Roberts’ emotional message to Manly players
“Everyone is equal, no matter what. Race, gender, sexual preference – everyone is equal. Let people make their choice and let’s not discriminate against those.
“We’re still doing that, and that’s why it is unfortunate. We’ve got Gotcha4Life that both teams have given up sponsors on their jerseys for, and we’re really looking forward to representing and talking about, male suicide and the high rates.
“But in the youth gay community it’s five times the level of normal society, and that’s because they don’t feel included. For us in 2022 to not be inclusive and not say it’s OK to be who you are is unacceptable.
“We need to move towards a better place. I’ve talked to my players about it, we’ve talked about it openly.”
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Uniform controversies that have rocked sport around the world
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