Is ANOTHER Pride jersey row about to blow up? Basketball players at Cairns Taipans ‘tell team chiefs they WON’T wear special kit due to religious reasons’… six months on from Manly saga that divided the NRL
A number of Cairns Taipans players are reportedly reluctant to wear the NBL’s Pride Round logo on their singlets due to their religious beliefs.
As part of the inaugural Pride Round, the logo of kit manufacturer Champion at the top of the singlets will feature the rainbow colours.
According to News Corp, however, several Taipans players are opposed to the idea on religious grounds. None of the players who are allegedly opposed have been identified yet.
A number of Cairns Taipans players are reportedly reluctant to wear the NBL’s Pride Round logo on their singlets due to their religious beliefs. None of them have been identified yet
It is understood some of the players will wear a singlet without the pride logo when the Taipans travel south to face the South East Melbourne Phoenix on Wednesday.
The NBL launched its first Pride Round on Monday, four months after it league first floated the concept to clubs and players during its pre-season round tournament in Darwin.
Two months later, Melbourne United star Isaac Humphries became the the first openly gay player in NBL history.
The 24-year-old is the second active athlete in one of Australia’s top sports leagues to come out as gay, joining A-League Men player Josh Cavallo.
Sydney Kings stars Jordy Hunter and Shaun Bruce don the jersey with the rainbow Champion logo that NBL teams will wear during the league’s inaugural Pride Round
The kit manufactuer Champion logo will feature the Rainbow colours
Upon announcing the Pride Round, the NBL made clear the players would be free to choose whether they wanted to wear the Pride logo or not.
‘We acknowledge, at times, there will be challenges with various stances we take as an organisation and they may conflict with some people’s beliefs,’ NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said.
‘Regardless, we will continue to work together to support each other, and we will always respect that people may have different views, opinions and values to ours.’
He added: ‘Basketball is for everyone and […] we will do all we can to ensure the NBL is a community where everyone is welcomed and supported, and individuals are encouraged to be themselves without fear of discrimination or judgement.
In November, Isaac Humphries became the the first openly gay player in NBL history
‘Pride Round is a way for us to acknowledge and thank the LGBTQ community.’
News of the Taipans players’ reluctance to wear the rainbow logo comes six months after Manly sparked enormous controversy when it unveiled a Pride jersey to celebrate diversity and inclusivity in the NRL.
The jumper featured Rainbow colours replacing the traditional white piping on the maroon background, making Manly the first NRL club to wear a pride jersey in rugby league’s 134-year history.
But far from being a unifying force, the jersey split Sea Eagles players and fans and the entire rugby league community.
Manly sparked huge controversy when it unveiled a rainbow jersey back in July last year
Seven Manly players who chose to boycott the Round 20 clash against the Sydney Roosters rather than wear the rainbow jersey introduced by the club.
Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu and Tolutau Koula sat out the game against the Roosters.
Former Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler was initially supportive of the Pride jersey, but was reportedly not asked for permission or consent for his players to wear it.
The club subsequently admitted it had not informed the players prior to unveiling the rainbow jersey.
The jersey split Manly supporters, with some embracing the initiative and praising the club
While other supporters defended the boycotters and called for their views to be respected
Hasler reportedly told the players he understood they were put in a difficult decision and supported their decision not to play.
The fallout from the incident derailed the Sea Eagles’ campaign, with Manly losing all their seven games following the Pride jersey fiasco to record their worst-ever end to an NRL season.
AFLW player and practising Muslim Haneen Zreika withdrew from Greater Western Sydney’s clash against the Western Bulldogs last year as she opposed wearing the Giants’ pride jumper on religious grounds.