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

Tragic Eagle

Premium Member
Tipping Member
I believe the Manly club requested to the NRL for the 7 players to wear the normal Manly strip and the others to wear the rainbow colours.
As everyone knows, they are pretty similar and nobody would mix them up with Roosters jersey.

The NRL said no as it is against NRL protocol's.

Surprise surprise the NRL screwed us again.

Uk eagle

All it would have taken was some intervention from the NRL once they knew the quality of their product was going to be compromised.
To Manly " are you ok with 7 players wearing a slightly different jersey?"
To the roosters" are you ok playing against a team in a one off situation with slightly different jerseys?"
And going forward make sure that in future every jersey change is ratified by them at the start of the year and all players have it built into their contracts that once passed by the NRL it is their duty to play or they are breeching their contract.
It doesn't sound like rocket science to me

Oh and surely put a limit on how many different jerseys can be worn in one season, this year has been ridiculous


I have a well known member
Premium Member
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
Well written post mate. At first, I was of the opinion the club could and should not back down, but you make some valid and well thought out points.

Firstly, the scenario (not one in the above post btw) where players 'pick and choose' which jersey they where flies in the very face of the intended message of inclusivity.

As @Woodsie has said, after the press conference (which should never have been conducted by a coach and captain btw), the management release a statement similar to above, highlighting the intended causes of this round. Then suggest the they acknowledge PV's intention of holding a 'Pride' round in the future and, in that vain, will apply to the NRL to wear the jersey later this year.

They also state they respect the the right of any player / official / fan to their own beliefs, however the club believes strongly in making the LGBTQ community feel welcome in Rugby League and, to that point, ask Ian Roberts to relay to the playing group, and wider MSWE staff, some of the issues he faced.

As I mentioned in another post, I would still like Ian Roberts to be given the opportunity to speak to anyone in the club who views homosexuality as a sin or immoral. Completely voluntary and very casual. You never know, someone may challenge their beliefs and become the advocates of change within their communities. I thing I'll guarantee, if not presented with a different viewpoint, the attitudes won't change.

Apologies @Woodsie if I hijacked your post a bit.

Terry Zarsoff

First Grader
From the SMH:


Don’t blame Pacific Island cultures for queer fear. Blame colonisation​

Jioji Ravulo

Head of social work and policy studies, University of Sydney
July 27, 2022 — 2.52pm

Six of the seven players refusing to wear the Manly Sea Eagles rainbow jersey in their match on Thursday night are from a Pasifika heritage.
I’ve been working alongside wellbeing and education with the NRL since 2010. My involvement includes counselling NRL players, supporting mental health policies and programs, and promoting diversity and inclusion approaches.
Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Haumole Olakau’atu, Josh Aloiai and Josh Schuster are five of the seven Manly players who have withdrawn from Thursday’s clash with the Roosters.

Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Haumole Olakau’atu, Josh Aloiai and Josh Schuster are five of the seven Manly players who have withdrawn from Thursday’sclash with the Roosters.CREDIT:GETTY/NRL PHOTOS

I have facilitated Pasifika cultural workshops with all the clubs across the game. This involved everyone across the whole NRL club at all levels, including Pasifika and non Pasifika players, coaching staff, administration and management. Part of this workshop was to create a safe space for Pasifika players to feel better understood within their clubs.

With just over 45 per cent of NRL players identifying from a Pasifika heritage, it is important that we understand and celebrate cultural diversity and their differences.

The players say they can’t wear a gay pride jersey for cultural and religious reasons. I’m assuming, similar to what we saw with Israel Folau, that such staunch views against diverse sexualities is based on conservative family values and a deep commitment to the Christian faith.


Ian Roberts during his playing days at Manly and, inset, the club’s pride jersey.


NRL 2022

I wore my Manly jersey, and my sexuality, with pride. Now I’m heartbroken

Ian Roberts

Ian Roberts

From a wider community perspective, we may view Pasifika cultures as being homophobic — full of fear for the queer. But this was taught to us by white, Western attitudes brought with colonisation.

Before the missionaries visited our beautiful island homes in the period of colonisation during the 1800s, sexuality among many Pacific communities was fluid. Men would have sex with men without fear and shame. Sexuality was seen as an expression of connecting socially and relationally with others.

From various written accounts by missionaries, they were appalled with how comfortable we were with our nakedness. They saw our nudity as lewd and forced us to cover up. They saw men expressing affection for other men as morally corrupt and dangerous.

Over time, we learnt to repress our natural sexual desires and regard our physical bodies as sinful. This has then carried over into our modern Pasifika cultural values, perpetuated by Western and white conservatism.
As a result, Pasifika cultures have been influenced to maintain this line of sin and shame to our detriment. We don’t discuss or express any form of sexuality, seeing sex exclusively reserved for a married straight couple for procreation.
Play Video

Ian Roberts speaks on Manly pride jersey fiasco

Play video

Ian Roberts speaks on Manly pride jersey fiasco​

Former NRL player and gay rights advocate Ian Roberts addressed the media on the Manly pride jersey fiasco.

We abide by our religious leaders’ directives in upholding respect for our elders and never question or critique such rules and regulations. This translates to the respect we show our parents and broader family, where our individual identities are inextricably connected. Questioning such views would be to question your own family and your connection to them.
In essence, our ability to care and connect within our families is a cultural strength; something I relish and cherish. Our lives revolve around caring and supporting each other; everyone is part of the collective and has a role to play across the family and the community.

However, if we are taught to uphold unhelpful religious views and values that come from conservative Westernised world views, we may limit our ability to truly embrace diversity.

As part of my workshops for the NRL, I would ask players to reflect on how they would celebrate ethnic, religious, and sexual diversity. Most players would giggle at first when I encouraged them to think about sexuality — but this was also encouraging them to think through their own sexual expression without shame or stigma.

Overall, players would then engage in a proactive conversation around supporting each other irrespective of how one may identify with their sexuality. My aim was to create scope to promote a sense of connection and community in which cultural diversity and its difference is seen as a source of celebration rather than a barrier.

If we are truly going to support diversity to thrive in all shapes and sizes, whether based on ethnicity, religion or sexuality, we need to continue to create a shared conversation across NRL clubs that allows players to share their views and values without fear.

However, to create a genuinely inclusive culture, we need a shared approach to diversity. If we, including Pasifika people, expect to be respected for our diversity, we need to also genuinely respect others for their own.
Manly jersey: Churches back boycott players
Pasifika people need to be proud of our pre-colonial views of queerness and reclaim such views as part of our ability to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Such relational and fluid views on sexuality can also be something white and Western societies could learn from traditional Pasifika cultures. We could all benefit from demystifying the shame and stigma we place on sexuality – and allow people to live their lives where we embrace diversity and its differences.

By doing so, we allow multiple worldviews to be welcomed, which allows everyone to contribute to a truly multicultural, multi-faith and queer-friendly game.


First Grader
Staff member
Where’s the mods around here? Absolutely disgusting dribble coming out of Frank Stokes mouth. You sir must live a very sad and miserable life, trying to bring down great young men and players of our club for having beliefs.
I sincerely hope you get yourself out of the dark place you are in. Negative man, you are not okay.
Use the report function if you are unhappy with a post. At the best of times it is a struggle to read all posts let alone across this issue

Son of Manly Beach

Reserve Grader
The most obvious solution was to let the 7 players wear the regular jersey, as you mention - its not all that different and very hard to see the difference from a distance. I'm surprised at the NRL's stubborn stance regarding this.

Terry Zarsoff

First Grader
In the last few days I have wondered how this would have panned out if Stephen Humphreys’ CEO stint hadn’t flamed out.

He didn’t strike me as someone who would reject any notion of consulting broadly before going ahead with this. That may or may not have led to conflict with Penn anyway - but we will never know.

Penn has given (to my knowledge) no indication that he thinks they erred by not consulting with the players beforehand.

Son of Manly Beach

Reserve Grader
Yeah, time was on nobody's side. But it just seems like everybody scrambled to cover their arses, threw their hands up in the air and said, "This a Manly mistake and a Manly problem. Who cares?" So we gift the Roosters the two points, move onto the next round and all is forgiven and forgotten?
pretty much! I really doubt we'll hear much more about this again - well I'm hoping anyway haha
Its become such a distraction and a gift to all the other teams

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