Sydney Swans, Pride Round, Manly Sea Eagles, pride jumper, rainbow, player boycott, stand down, furore, controversy, jersey, guernsey, apology, NRL

Sydney Swans, Pride Round, Manly Sea Eagles, pride jumper, rainbow, player boycott, stand down, furore, controversy, jersey, guernsey, apology, NRL

Sydney Swans co-captain Callum Mills made his club’s position clear amid the furore over Manly’s pride jersey, declaring that “everyone is welcome” at their games.

The Swans have played in an annual pride game with St Kilda since 2016, having first played against Fremantle in a pre-season clash in 2015 under the pride banner.

Last season Sydney players launched their inaugural pride jersey, which they wore again in round 15 against the Saints this season along with rainbow socks, and have been part of several initiatives aimed at strengthening inclusion and diversity.

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Without addressing the situation at Manly specifically ahead of Sydney’s clash with cross-town rivals GWS, Mills on Wednesday said respect for anyone and everyone was at the core of their support of their pride games.

“It’s a tough question to answer,” Mills said when asked about the fallout from seven Manly players refusing to wear their club’s pride jersey and the apology from coach Des Hasler that followed.

“But from the club standpoint, we are really proud that anyone can feel safe coming to our games and be part of our support network, our supporters, our fans, that anyone can feel safe coming to our games.

Swans run through the banner during the Pride Game at the SCG. Picture: Phil HillyardSource: News Corp Australia

“That’s the biggest message I want to put across is everyone’s welcome and we respect who anyone is to be honest at our games.”

Mills’ comments come as it was revealed Australian icon Hugh Jackman knew about Manly’s pride jumper design “several” weeks ago.

When Sydney’s pride jersey was launched in 2021, Swans chief executive Tom Harley said it reflected the club’s “connection and commitment to the LGBTIQ community”.

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“Our pride guernsey reflects the importance of being an inclusive club and we want everyone to feel welcome at the football,” Harley said.

“We’re thrilled to introduce our new pride guernsey which reflects on our connection and commitment to the LGBTIQ community.”

In 2018, the Swans won an Australian LGBTI Award in the Community Initiative/Charity category for hosting the 2017 pride game.

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