Roosters coach Trent Robinson has delivered an emotional response to Manly’s inclusivity jersey furore, insisting his club would have no problems wearing a similar design and claiming there would be an uproar if an NRL player decided not to wear an Indigenous-themed jersey.
Three-time premiership-winning coach Robinson spoke candidly on the issue for several minutes before his side’s clash against a depleted Sea Eagles at 4 Pines Park on Thursday night.
Seven Manly players have withdrawn from the game on religious and cultural grounds after claiming they weren’t consulted over the club’s decision to wear a jersey with rainbow colours replacing the usual white trimming.
The Roosters and Sea Eagles are locked in a battle for the top eight. The match will have huge ramifications for both sides’ seasons, but has been lost in the debate over the Manly players standing down.
“It’s unfortunate in 2022 we’re still having this conversation,” Robinson said. “I think it’s great what the owners of Manly have decided to do. It’s unfortunate it’s panned out this way.
“Everyone is equal. Race, gender, sexual preference – everyone is equal. People make their choice and let’s not discriminate against those people for doing that.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson said his club would have no issue wearing a pride jersey in the future.Credit:Getty
“In the youth gay community [suicide is] five times what normal society is. That’s because they don’t feel included. For us in 2022, to not be inclusive and not say it’s OK to be who you are, is unacceptable.
“If someone said they weren’t going to wear the Indigenous jersey, there would be an outcry. Forty years ago, that wouldn’t have been the case. Eighty years ago, we wouldn’t have had Women In League Round. We’ve moved on those fronts, and we haven’t moved on this. We need to move towards it at some point.”
Just a day after Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys said the NRL would consider a pride round, Robinson said his club would have no issue wearing a jersey which supported diversity and inclusion.
Robinson praised Manly counterpart Des Hasler and captain Daly Cherry-Evans for their handling of a press conference on Tuesday, and confirmed his club would support a pride jumper.
“Definitely,” Robinson said. “That’s my personal view. We’ve talked with our players about it. We’ve got a job to do and play a Roosters style of footy and dominate tomorrow night, but whether we like it or not we have things on jerseys we represent.
“That’s a decision for the club and the game to make, but my personal opinion is about equality. I want people to feel like they’re cared for, loved and have a place no matter their sexual preference in the world.”
Manly stars Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Josh Aloiai, Tolutau Koula and Toafofoa Sipley will all watch the match against the Roosters from the grandstand.
The fixture will also be played for the Gotcha 4 Life Cup, honouring media personality Gus Worland’s work in promoting mental health.
Stream the NRL Premiership 2022 live and free on 9Now.
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