NRL coaches are divided on whether to introduce a permanent pride round
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A new survey has revealed that NRL coaches are split on whether to introduce a permanent pride round into the competition.
According to News Corp, coaches and assistants from all 17 NRL clubs were divided right down the middle over the prospect of wearing a pride jersey for one round a season.
Figures from the survey showed that 42 per cent of coaches said they would encourage their players to wear a rainbow jersey in support of the LGBTQIA+ community.
On the other hand, it's understood the exact same amount - 42 per cent - would not openly encourage their squads to do so.
Within the poll, 16 per cent chose not to answer.
When it came introducing a permanent pride round into the league, half of the competition's coaches insisted they wouldn't, while 17 per cent didn't answer altogether.
That meant that only 33 per cent were in favour of the idea.
While some clubs are clearly keen to drive inclusivity, others are still wary of the repercussions a divide in opinion within the changing rooms can have – just ask the Sea Eagles.
Last season, Manly became engulfed in a pride jersey saga which made headlines around the world.
Seven players threatened to boycott a game after refusing to wear the team's rainbow 'Everyone in League' strip, having not been consulted about it prior to the club releasing it.
The players were subsequently stood down on religious grounds and Manly ended up wearing the kit, ultimately leading to head coach Des Hassler parting ways following a legal battle with Sea Eagles officials over the entire ordeal.
Both the players and the club itself faced criticism from all angles and now the NRL is looking at other alternatives.
“We were always going to look at a Respect Round,” ARL Commission chair Peter V’landys said.
“What a Respect Round is, is that it respects everyone’s views. We might not agree with them, but we respect them.
“So if we were going to do anything we were going to do a Respect Round. It wasn’t going to be a Pride Round because then you alienate other people.
“We pride ourselves on being an inclusive game. To be an inclusive game you have to respect everyone’s view.”