NRL considering pride round this season despite Manly jersey controversy
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The NRL is reportedly considering a Pride Round for the upcoming NRL season despite the Manly jersey saga that shook the rugby league world last year.
Back in round 20 seven of the Sea Eagles’ best players withdrew from the fixture against the Roosters after refusing to wear a rainbow jersey.
They cited their religious and cultural beliefs as means of not being able to wear a few rainbow stripes.
It became one of the biggest controversies of the NRL year and ultimately led to coach Des Hasler’s sacking as the Sea Eagles failed to win a single game following the debacle.
However, despite the potential minefield the NRL faces for introducing a Pride Round, ARL chairman Peter V’landys revealed that discussions are still taking place.
The NRL fixture list was revealed yesterday (November 8), and although there is no indication of when a Pride Round may sit, the idea is currently being floated.
V’landys said, as per Sydney Morning Herald: “We have discussed it.
“The game is about escapism and you try to avoid getting into politics.
“What we’ve always said is that everyone has to respect each other, to respect everyone’s views. We haven’t made a final decision, but it’s something that the Commission will look at in upcoming meetings.
“I’ve always seen everyone as being equal and that rugby league is an inclusive sport. We’ll look at if there is a way of doing it without upsetting anyone.”
The likes of Trent Robinson at the Roosters and Manly owner Scott Penn have supported the idea of a Pride Round, as is the case in many other sports.
The ARL boss believes there’s potential for the right if it’s done ‘the right way’.
He said, as per Yahoo! Sport: “There are ways you can do it where you don't upset anyone. If we do it, we have format to do it the right way. It's all about respecting each other.
"We have to respect that (some people) have a different view to the rest of us. The most important thing in my eyes is we're all equal, it doesn't matter what colour, what creed or sexual orientation."
Manly star Josh Aloiai, who was one of the seven Manly players to boycott the round, has claimed since that he choose to do the same if the club were to again wear a pride jersey.
On whether he would reconsider his stance if the club were to decide to bring back the jersey for 2023, Aloiai was stout in his response.
"The short answer there is no, I won't," he said.
"We didn't compromise this year, we won't compromise next year or the year after.
"Difference of opinion is not a difference of respect.”