This is the Manly Sea Eagles jersey the club proposed to wear for match against the Roosters to celebrate Gay Pride.
You could be forgiven for thinking it celebrated gambling on rugby league.
The net result of this change of jersey was a huge controversy involving seven players who refuse to wear the jersey because it was against their religious beliefs ie homosexuality.
No qualms about gambling, however.
They also refused to play in the match against the Roosters. There were clearly some discussions behind the scenes with the owner of the club and they have given an assurance there will be no repeat of this behaviour next year.
It’s the four little rainbow stripes they objected to. Nonetheless, the Christian lobby and Lyle Sheldon in particular, came out with all homophobic guns blazing. all in the interests of freedom of religion of course.
As a consequence, they refused to play and the consequent media attention detracted almost completely from the fact that the Sea Eagles were trying to promote inclusiveness and a celebration of diversity.
The upshot is that the NRL is considering a Gay Pride round next year. If this little exercise is any indication, next year should be a lot of fun!
For the last two years, the Richmond Union Bowling Club in Victoria has held the Gay Pride Cup. It’s a celebration of the LGBTQI community. It’s a joyous event not marred by controversy or homophobia.
Now, in fairness it is probably easier to enjoy a bowls match than it is to enjoy a first grade rugby league match.
It’s a competition between any clubs that choose to enter and RUBC has special top for the day. Many opposition players choose to wear it.
Here are some pictures from the RUBC Gay Pride Cup.