NRLW player Karina Brown has expressed disappointment over the Manly Sea Eagles pride jersey boycott, saying the news “triggered” her.
Brown, who kissed her then girlfriend Vanessa Foliaki after a State of Origin match in 2018, said the Sea Eagles players had left her “frustrated”.
“It did trigger me, if I’m honest,” she said on the ‘On Her Game’ podcast’. “I felt enraged and frustrated and then I decided to dig a bit deeper and find out the whole story … when I dug deeper I realised it’s not even a pride jersey which makes it even worse.
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“This jersey is for everyone in league … whether you love someone of the same sex or whether you love Jesus Christ it says there’s a place for you in rugby league.
“To get upset about a jersey with a few extra colours, on the piping … I was astounded that was a stance that some players have taken.
“It’s just constantly frustrating.
“Because yes we are becoming more of a woke society.
“And the next generation they’ve got more of an open mind and open hearts.
“People are realising that discrimination is so hurtful in society and we’re trying to do something about it.
“It’s frustrating it still exists.”
The photo of Brown and Foliaki kissing after the 2018 State of Origin clash divided fans, but the the NRL responded to criticism by captioning the photo: “Welcome to 2018 … can’t wait for you to join us!”
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Manly coach Des Hasler apologised for the saga.
“The jersey’s intent was to support the advocacy and human rights pertaining to gender, race, culture, ability and LGBTQ movements.
“Sadly, the execution of what was intended to be an extremely important initiative was poor. There was little consultation or collaboration between key stakeholders, both inside and outside the club.
“Our intent was to be caring and compassionate towards all diverse groups who face inclusion issues daily. However, instead of enhancing tolerance and acceptance, we may have hindered this. This was the opposite of our intent.
“This poor mismanagement has caused significant confusion, discomfort and pain for many people.
“We wish to apologise to the LGBTQ community who embrace the rainbow colour for pride and advocacy and human rights issues. We accept your cultural beliefs and hope that you can accept our apology.”
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