Manly won’t be the ones making any decisions about a potential Pride Round in next year’s NRL season.
The Sea Eagles are keen to distance themselves from the pride jersey fiasco that plagued the end of their 2022 season and ultimately cost Des Hasler his job.
Seven players from the team refused to wear a jersey donning a few rainbow stripes in support of the LGBT+ community.
As a result, the players boycotted the round 20 fixture against the Sydney Roosters, with the team not recording a single win for the rest of the season.
Sea Eagles chief executive Tony Mestrov says the lack of transparency between the club and the players was ultimately the biggest issue.
Mestrov says the Manly side won’t commit to wearing the jersey again in 2023 despite it being one of the hottest-selling items.
Instead, they’ll leave the decision to the NRL.
Mestrov said, via Fox Sports: “If there’s any overarching initiatives, they’ll be run by the NRL. We’ve been in discussion with the NRL, and any initiative will be put forward by them, not us.
“We’ve got nothing further to add about us organising a Pride Round or a Rainbow Round.
“The NRL will do the consulting. They will speak to the RLPA and the players and so on rather than a club itself. It works much better that way, we feel.
“I wasn’t here at the time, but from the people who do know me being here now, it’s about communication. There’s no way that for any reason the players shouldn’t have been communicated to.
“From day one since I got here – I don’t profess to be the coach – (my mantra has been) clear communication from everyone in the organisation, including the players.
“If we can do that in the future, whatever it might be, everyone knows where they stand.
“I think that’s the most important part about this club moving forward, including the local community, the local sponsors and the local juniors. We should communicate clearly, and we’ve got a clear direction here as well.”
Players have indicated that they would again boycott and stand down if the club decided to wear the rainbow jersey.
Mestrov added: “I think it was important that they cleared the air and that we gave them the freedom to do that to express themselves and what they felt.
“That’s done and we can now get on with the most important thing and what we’re here for, which is winning football games. Anthony is here now, there’s a clean slate and we’re here to win football games.”
Anthony Seibold has just taken charge of the team following Des Hasler’s dismissal.
However, he too is steering clear of the topic that ruined Manly’s season.
He said: “That’s not for me to talk to at this point of time. That would create a headline, which would be good for everybody.
“One thing I do know about any situation that occurs is that education and communication are key. It certainly hasn’t seemed to be a problem in the very short time (I’ve been here) communicating with the group.”
Featured Image Credit: NRL/Supplied.