The jersey debacle: Why did nobody work towards a compromise?

Bencher
At this point I think it's safe to say that everyone in the world is aware that the Manly club buggered up the implementation of the Everyone In League jersey to the point that it will be used as a case study in how not to do things in a rugby league club for years to come. And one of the results will be that we'll play a very important game this Thursday night with seven of our best players missing. I'm at peace with that and will be happy to support the 17 players who want to wear the jersey, play footy and represent the club.

But was that the only way this could have ended?

I know the club couldn't back down and say, "Bad idea. We'll scrap the jersey." And I know the players didn't want to back down either. But would it really have been so hard for the NRL to get involved and try to broker a solution?

As many people have noticed, there's not a huge difference between the Everyone in League strip and the regular maroon and white hoops strip. Really, at a distance you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference, and on the field all you'd really see is a block of maroon. There's no way it would have confused or disadvantaged the Roosters team in any way if the players had been allowed to "mix and match". It would not have been an ideal solution (that's why it's a compromise), but it would have allowed the players to get their point across and to play. Nobody really wins, but nobody really loses either.

The NRL, weirdly enough, doubled down on the importance of inclusion and even promised to look into a "Pride round" for next season (whether they actually meant to follow through or not is up for debate). But they didn't offer to help Manly or the seven dissenting players involved in any way. They could have said something like, "We understand the players were not given an opportunity to voice their concerns, and we want to understand those concerns and work through those issues with them and others ahead of the implementation of a Pride Round next season. Given the short time frame, we are prepared to allow them to wear their regular jerseys and support their club and teammates on this occasion." So you acknowledge the issues and pledge to work through them so that something like this never needs to happen again. And you make it clear to everyone that players being allowed to wear slightly different strips is a one-off.

Instead, it seems like the NRL has said, "This is your stuff-up, you fix it." They've also pretty much given players the green light to refuse to play if they find anything objectionable on their jerseys, so good luck with that going forward.

Given that you can't change the mistake, what could have been done to fix it?
 
Bencher
i would presume time was the enemy

between the announcement, the players, i presume NRL requirements for team selection and jerseys etc, it just got too hard and possibly too angry

the lack of bossman in australia, possibly added with the timezone that was not user friendly, and then you have at least 2 wills of the mind , possibly more

the NRL should have intervened, given the club more time
 
Die Hard
At this point I think it's safe to say that everyone in the world is aware that the Manly club buggered up the implementation of the Everyone In League jersey to the point that it will be used as a case study in how not to do things in a rugby league club for years to come. And one of the results will be that we'll play a very important game this Thursday night with seven of our best players missing. I'm at peace with that and will be happy to support the 17 players who want to wear the jersey, play footy and represent the club.

But was that the only way this could have ended?

I know the club couldn't back down and say, "Bad idea. We'll scrap the jersey." And I know the players didn't want to back down either. But would it really have been so hard for the NRL to get involved and try to broker a solution?

As many people have noticed, there's not a huge difference between the Everyone in League strip and the regular maroon and white hoops strip. Really, at a distance you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference, and on the field all you'd really see is a block of maroon. There's no way it would have confused or disadvantaged the Roosters team in any way if the players had been allowed to "mix and match". It would not have been an ideal solution (that's why it's a compromise), but it would have allowed the players to get their point across and to play. Nobody really wins, but nobody really loses either.

The NRL, weirdly enough, doubled down on the importance of inclusion and even promised to look into a "Pride round" for next season (whether they actually meant to follow through or not is up for debate). But they didn't offer to help Manly or the seven dissenting players involved in any way. They could have said something like, "We understand the players were not given an opportunity to voice their concerns, and we want to understand those concerns and work through those issues with them and others ahead of the implementation of a Pride Round next season. Given the short time frame, we are prepared to allow them to wear their regular jerseys and support their club and teammates on this occasion." So you acknowledge the issues and pledge to work through them so that something like this never needs to happen again. And you make it clear to everyone that players being allowed to wear slightly different strips is a one-off.

Instead, it seems like the NRL has said, "This is your stuff-up, you fix it." They've also pretty much given players the green light to refuse to play if they find anything objectionable on their jerseys, so good luck with that going forward.

Given that you can't change the mistake, what could have been done to fix it?
Plenty could have been done.

1. it seems to have been pulled in the direction of "pride" when the club has come out and said it was about inclusiveness of all as opposed to just women in league, this was to include LGBQT, women, people with disabilities, religious beliefs etc etc. The first mistake was to add the colours that represent a single group "pride" rather than coming up with a unique theme for total inclusiveness. I feel maybe an agenda was pushed here from a group inside and kept hush until the last minute for this kind of reaction. Smells sus considering no body knew this was a alterative jersey this year.

2, the NRL could have enforced duty of care to all stakeholders, full well knowing of this and endorsing it. End blame lies with them as administrators of the game with final say.

3. A one off concession could have been made by the NRL for the affected players to wear the white hoops considering the circumstances and to extinguish the problems caused given their role in the affairs. As mentioned the subtle differences would not have disadvantaged the roosters especially since they are likely to be wearing their white strip.

I get all the arguments but it should never have been made about pride alone, which was never the sole intention, it has been dragged that way for political reasons and as the group with the loudest struggle in all of this. It has been unfair to all involved.
 
Feast yer eyes ..
There cannot be a living, sentient member of the human species .. working in Sports Management ... that was unaware of the Israel Folau saga, and who hasn't also studied the outcome and fallout. But what appears to have been ignored or dismissed, was the level of support that Folau had from the greater Rugby community ...

And I honestly believe that those in the club driving this .... knew without any doubt that it would cause a shiitefight and resistance ... hence the secrecy ... hence getting the only 3 non Polynesians available to model the jersey's ... hence the last minute announcement ..

They were hoping that it would take everybody by surprise and wouldn't give any opposition time to react .... they were very wrong and again underestimated the Islanders depth and the strength of their commitment to their faith ..

AND the players didn't refuse to play ... they refused to wear that jersey ... the club and NRL forced them into not playing by giving them no alternative ...

The smarty McSmartyfaces responsible have set a truly worthwhile and noble cause backwards ...

I disagree 100% with the notion that the club couldn't back down ... bloody nonsense .... to me a responsible result would have been .. After forcing poor Dessie to Mea Culpa and apologise .. the club release a statement saying this round was always the Women in League round and the GotchaforLife round and those great causes deserve to stand alone without controversy ... so we are temporarily withdrawing the Inclusive rainbow jersey until such time as all stakeholders are on board .. we remain committed to the LGB etc etc
 
Bencher
Gotcha 4 Life Cup AND Women In League round .. then this?

Unnecessary and poorly thought out. While a rainbow jersey may well have it's place I think 1) not this fukn round, and 2) give enough respect to the players who have to wear it. Like it or not adulting often means dealing with those with differing views.

If I was in the team I would wear the rainbow jersey with pride but if it was "Tutus For Trans" week I might well tell the boss where to stick his uniform. Perhaps a poor analogy but everyone's "line" is drawn in a different spot.

Respect that.

Anyway I will be at the game wearing my rainbow undies, will give to G4L and give respect to the Women In League.

And above all, Go Manly !!!
 
Bencher
Premium Member
Still could have been worked through is my view, time there was plenty of for conversations to be had and solutions put on the table, the NRL, Manly and the players could have made this work.

Cricket Australia made it work and so did SBW and Usman.

Everything is workable with the correct mindset.
 
I discriminate indiscriminately
There cannot be a living, sentient member of the human species .. working in Sports Management ... that was unaware of the Israel Folau saga, and who hasn't also studied the outcome and fallout. But what appears to have been ignored or dismissed, was the level of support that Folau had from the greater Rugby community ...

And I honestly believe that those in the club driving this .... knew without any doubt that it would cause a shiitefight and resistance ... hence the secrecy ... hence getting the only 3 non Polynesians available to model the jersey's ... hence the last minute announcement ..

They were hoping that it would take everybody by surprise and wouldn't give any opposition time to react .... they were very wrong and again underestimated the Islanders depth and the strength of their commitment to their faith ..

AND the players didn't refuse to play ... they refused to wear that jersey ... the club and NRL forced them into not playing by giving them no alternative ...

The smarty McSmartyfaces responsible have set a truly worthwhile and noble cause backwards ...

I disagree 100% with the notion that the club couldn't back down ... bloody nonsense .... to me a responsible result would have been .. After forcing poor Dessie to Mea Culpa and apologise .. the club release a statement saying this round was always the Women in League round and the GotchaforLife round and those great causes deserve to stand alone without controversy ... so we are temporarily withdrawing the Inclusive rainbow jersey until such time as all stakeholders are on board .. we remain committed to the LGB etc etc
That would be letting the tail wag the dog... and Manly would have rightfully been hammered for it...

...the one, and only, positive that I have taken out of this shebacle is that the club remained committed to its values and was not swayed by the pressure to win at any cost...I am proud of the board and owners (who it seems were not consulted? Dunno about that one...) for remaining steadfast and I trust that they will ensure that the club's values are respected going forward...
 
Bencher
Still could have been worked through is my view, time there was plenty of for conversations to be had and solutions put on the table, the NRL, Manly and the players could have made this work.

Cricket Australia made it work and so did SBW and Usman.

Everything is workable with the correct mindset.
agree. Thats what I think. Surely there is a solution to this rather than have a team play with 7 players sitting out. The NRL can't hide from this either. They should step up and help find a way through this. Plenty of options and discussions could have been tabled to make this work.
 
Feast yer eyes ..
That would be letting the tail wag the dog... and Manly would have rightfully been hammered for it...

...the one, and only, positive that I have taken out of this shebacle is that the club remained committed to its values and was not swayed by the pressure to win at any cost...I am proud of the board and owners (who it seems were not consulted? Dunno about that one...) for remaining steadfast and I trust that they will ensure that the club's values are respected going forward...

Well .. when you have a dumb dog ...

So in Frank's World ... The Club are the hero's in this saga ...
 
I discriminate indiscriminately
Well .. when you have a dumb dog ...

So in Frank's World ... The Club are the hero's in this saga ...
No, as I have stated, they screwed the pooch in the delivery...
But they would have been a dog of a club if they crab-walked away from their values because of a few disgruntled players with an over-inflated sense of their own self-importance...
 
It's only a game ....
I don't agree with all Fitzsimons' article, but I agree with the approach he suggests Manly should have taken to avoid this problem

"The Manly club itself has a serious case to answer. It is one thing to get the kudos for making the announcement they did on Monday, and portraying themselves as a go-forward club. But blindsiding most of the players like that was madness. There was a way to finesse this, and the best way would have been to bring in the toughest forward rugby league has ever produced, Ian Roberts, and get him to talk of his experience. He could have told them of how much he suffered as a young gay man, how young people still suffer for their sexuality through no fault of their own. He could have exulted in just how fantastic it has been that the NRL has made such strides in recent times in supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, in making it clear that the game is for everyone, that it is inclusive and that this has supported suffering teens everywhere. So, guys, Roberts could have said, I am hoping you’d be OK with supporting this? It would just be so wonderful to have you wear the jersey? Would you?"

 

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