Manly Sea Eagles owner Scott Penn has revealed the club’s rainbow-trimmed Pride shirt will return next year – and the seven players on the stand are open to donning the kit.
Josh Aloyai, Jason Saab, Christian Tupulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakauatu, Tolutau Kula and Toafofoa Siplei all recused themselves from the roster conflict for religious reasons.
Following a meeting between the team and the club’s owner, the players expressed their willingness to participate on behalf of members of the LGBQIA community, 9 News reported.
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Penn said the players who decided to sit out were disappointed that the club did not consult with the player group surrounding the jersey.
“I think they were somewhat upset that he went as far as he did without consultation, and we respect that,” Mali’s owner Scott Penn said.
“We’re all about inclusion, so we’re going to continue that theme.”
The team will remain out of the women’s league for this year’s league, but the seven players have received proper consultation from the club and expressed their willingness to reach an agreement.
“Yes. That’s a very clear message to them – let’s work together,” Penn said.
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Meanwhile, Sea Eagles great Ian Roberts has been vocal about the impact the Pride shirt saga is having on members of the LGBTQIA community.
The 56-year-old, who played 100 games for Manly, sat down with the players and warned of the possible consequences.
“I would love to sit around the table with those players and I want to tell you that, unfortunately, there are kids today in the suburbs, in the states, who haven’t heard many stories in the last month, but I promise you’ve heard this one. History,” said Roberts.
“These are the kinds of results that come when you’re pushed with things like that, that’s what prejudice and discrimination do.[es].
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“I wasn’t surprised that there was going to be a push, and I’m very disappointed. I think about the consequences… This is a cruel language to hear, but there are children who kill themselves in the suburbs.
“They’re the kind of results we’re talking about.”
Now, the seven Sea Eagles sitting outside are “interested” in sitting down with Roberts to come to a conclusion.
“The players we’ve met want to talk to him and get their message across and hear from him,” Penn said.