Your religion? I tell you nothing you don’t know when I say that it seems more than passing weird. Your jerseys, and the stadium you play in, are awash in alcohol and gambling advertisements – much of which pays for your salaries. On this, not a peep out of you, even though most with strong religious views take a dim view of both drinking and gambling.
Equally, many of the players around you in the football world have had issues of domestic violence, of assaults, of criminal acts – all of which feature high in the list of sins. Still not a peep.
So we have to ask. Does your religion countenance all of the above, but truly draw the line at showing support for the central idea that while some people are born with red hair and freckles, some with blond hair and vacant looks, some with black hair and darker skin, some are also born straight while others are born gay? That’s it! That is all that Manly wearing the rainbow jersey is saying. To put it in terms that might resonate, “We are all God’s little creatures, and we come in all shapes and sizes, all colours, all sexualities, so it isn’t all just wonderful!”
You are mostly from the wonderful Islander community, one that is beloved in the football community and still wider. However, there really are shocking bigots who have attacked that community through nothing other than their own bigotry. How do you not get that your actions disgust most, but please many of the very same bigots who judge people on their race?
It was put very well by the Kyle and Jackie O newsreader Brooklyn Ross, who is gay, on Tuesday morning.
“I’m not here to put hate on them,” he said. “We do Indigenous round. What if a group of white guys said, ‘Nah, I’m not playing this weekend.’ I want those players kicked out of [NRL]. We shouldn’t accept this.”
Your thoughts, gentlemen? que would you say if the white guys said that?
4. For all that, when it comes to what to do with them, I wouldn’t sack them outright, and prima facie they are unlikely to have breached contractual obligations, if they were not consulted in the first place. But I would mark their papers down as blokes who are never going to win us the premiership, who will bleed for the jersey, clear every hurdle, skirt every obstacle, find a way to win, come what may. Seriously, look at it. Don’t those characteristics sum up the players from, say, the Melbourne Storm over the last few years? Theirs has been a commitment that is inspirational. But these blocks? On this issue alone, just as we’re trying to keep their place in the finals, they effectively trash the season, ruin the chances of making the eight, embarrass the game, the club and themselves. It is, simply put, not the stuff that premiership players are made of, and if I was Manly I would move them on as quickly as possible, and wish them well at their new club.
5. And so to the space cadets, who say the whole thing is the moral equivalent of the young Islamic woman who quietly declined to wear the GWS Pride jersey earlier this year. Why didn’t we go hard on her, put her on the front and back pages, nyah, nyah, nyah? (Add poorly spelled abuse, and mix.) Nup.
As I wrote at the time: “It’s regrettable, disappointing and surprising – given that she is already progressive enough to break down the barriers to be the first Islamic woman to play in the AFLW – and to have played in the Pride round last year, albeit without personally wearing the jersey. But it ain’t remotely Folau in terms of impact, and not a thousandth of it in terms of newsworthiness.”
Her declining to do so, as a sole operator, as a young woman living at home with devout parents and playing AFLW as an aside to her studies really is regrettable but 1/100 on the scale of impact and newsworthiness.
These blokes, seasoned professionals earning millions between them, and destroying the Manly season because of it, is a tad more impactful and newsworthy, yes?