Up to seven players from the Manly rugby league club in Sydney, Australia, are threatening to boycott their match Thursday after a decision was made without consultation for them to wear a gay pride jersey in the fixture.
Management of the Sea Eagles, as they are known, announced on Sunday night players would wear an LGBTQIA+ jersey for the match, with a rainbow design replacing the strip’s traditional white hoops.
That decision has caused unrest among some players unhappy they were not consulted by club management, ABC News Australia reports.
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According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolutau Koula and Toafofoa Sipley have stood down over the matter.
All seven are said to be opposing the decision to wear the jersey on cultural and religious grounds.
Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler reportedly told the players he understood they were put in a difficult decision and supported their decision not to play.
This is not the first time a rugby player in Australia has made a point of stating his religious beliefs clash with homosexuality.
Australian rugby star attacked for declining to support gay marriage campaign due to Christian beliefs https://t.co/CtZigMv9Z2
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 14, 2017
Australian rugby star Israel Folau sparked a fierce backlash in 2017 after he entered the country’s debate on same-sex marriage and said he would not support a proposal to make it legal, as Breitbart News reported.
Folau, a devout Christian, went public with his view on social media.
I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. but personally, I will not support gay marriage.✌❤🙏
— Israel Folau (@IzzyFolau) September 13, 2017
Folau was raised as a Mormon but he and his family switched to the Assemblies of God church in 2011 before he became a born-again Christian in 2017.
The player also sparked outrage by suggesting in a sermon that destructive bushfires and drought that ravaged Australia in 2020 were “God’s judgement” for the legalisation of same-sex marriage and abortion.