Seven players from the Manly Sea Eagles team in Australia will not play the next National Rugby League match due to refusing to wear Pride Night jerseys. The players cited religious and cultural beliefs as reasons why they will not participate in the night’s celebrations. This is a very important time for the Sea Eagles and the NRL alike as playoffs are on the horizon. The Sea Eagles currently sit in 9th place and only the top 8 teams will make the playoffs. So having seven players sit out nearly guarantees that they will not advance to postseason play.
Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler profusely apologized during a press conference for what appears to be a miscommunication. Apparently, nobody bothered to ask the players if they would participate in the pride night celebration beforehand. It was something that was simply rolled out to them all of a sudden. However, other people were informed of the night and jerseys well ahead of time. Even Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was informed of the team’s decision before the players had a clue.