The Manly Sea Eagles are in crisis with seven players standing down from Thursday’s clash with the Roosters after refusing to wear a pride jersey.
The club announced on Sunday that it would become the first club in the game’s history to wear a rainbow design on its jersey for the game to celebrate inclusion and diversity.
Its usual white stripes on its jersey would be replaced by rainbow ones.
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But the club has since been plunged into turmoil with players accusing management of not consulting them.
As many as seven players were threatening not to play in the game if forced to wear the pride jersey, reportedly on religious grounds.
The club was forced to hold emergency talks with players on Monday night, bringing forward a meeting that was originally scheduled for Tuesday.
Newscorp reports Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolutau Koula, Christian Tuipulotu and Toafofoa Sipley are the players that refused to wear the jersey.
It’s understood their decision has the backing of coach Des Hasler.
Seven News is reporting this morning that three of those players have since had a change of heart.
Hasler and Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans are due to front the media later on Tuesday.
ARL Commission Chair Peter V’landys says he is disappointed but also respects the players’ decision.
“We’re all human beings at the end of the day and rugby league is the greatest game for all, it’s inclusive,” V’Landys told Radio 2GB.
But at the same time, you’ve got to respect people’s religious beliefs and cultural beliefs and those players are taking a stand and they’ve got every right to.”