Ian Roberts, the first out gay rugby league player, has addressed the Manly pride jersey boycott. Roberts, a former Manly Sea Eagles himself publicly came out in 1995 while playing for Manly.Seven Manly Players To Boycott NRL Match Over Gay Pride JerseyRoberts told Fox Sports that the controversy “breaks my heart.” “And to try to explain what a Pride Round means, particularly for the LGBTQIA+ community, what it means to us individually.”Roberts said that Pride Rounds are about being welcoming, inclusive, and making people feel valid and seen.“It isn’t a thing of exclusivity.
It’s just about welcoming and saying to the LGBTQIA+ community, you’re part of the greater community and you’re welcome here.”Stressing why a Pride Round is so vital and the potential consequences of this player backlash, Roberts said, “I’ve lost friends to suicide and I’ve seen the consequences of what homophobia, transphobia, and all the phobias can do to people.”He continued, “There are kids out in the suburbs, out in the regions, who may not have heard many stories lately.
But I promise you, they’ve heard this story.“I don’t want to start quoting the terrible statistics that we know about the LGBTQIA+ community and self-harm.Model and former Rugby player Casey Conway tweeted about the controversy and reiterated how important the initiative is .
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