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The seven Manly Sea Eagles players who are boycotting tonight's (July 28) NRL match against the Roosters won't even attend the game.
Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolutau Koula and Toafofoa Sipley have caused an almighty storm this week because they are refusing to wear their club's new pride jersey.
The players revealed they would boycott the crucial game as their religion wouldn't let them wear a top with a few rainbow lines on it.
They've now taken it a step further and won't even attend their 4 Pines Park because the club is worried about their safety.
The Daily Telegraph reports there were concerns the crowd could become heated by the mere presence of the anti-LGBT players.
A decision was made after Northern Beaches Police Crime Co-ordinator Sergeant Damon Flakelar met with Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler, interim club chief executive Gary Wolman and Manly head of operations and events Shelley O’Malley.
The club decided it was best if the players stayed away from the stadium.
The Sydney newspaper added that at least one of the players has been subjected to online bullying as a result of their stance on the pride jersey.
The NRL world has been turned upside down by the Manly 7.
Everyone seems to have an opinion on whether the players should be allowed to follow their faith and reject a measure designed to be more inclusive.
The Manly Sea Eagles will be desperate for a win tonight against the Roosters to ensure they have a chance at playing in the finals.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson is disappointed the game has been marred by this off-field controversy.
“It is great what the owners of Manly have decided to do and it is unfortunate that it has panned out this way because everyone is equal, no matter what race, gender, sexual preference, everyone is equal,” he said.
“Let people make their choice and let’s not discriminate against those, and we are still doing that, and that is why it is unfortunate.
“We are really looking forward to representing, and talking about even just male suicide and the high rate that it is.
“But in the youth gay community it is five times the level of what normal society is, that is because they don’t feel included.
“And for us in 2022 to not be inclusive and not say it is OK to be who you are is unacceptable
“We need to move towards a better place … I want to say that we are inclusive, we do accept you for who you are and we care about you, and we need to move forward in that way.”
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