How the Roosters changed their uniform because it went against Sonny Bill Williams’ religious beliefs – as the Sea Eagles refuse to back down on the Pride jersey
- Cross-Code Superstar Sonny Bill Williams Opened Up About His Religious Beliefs
- Would not wear jerseys with gambling links – including Roosters sponsor Unibet
- In 2020, Unibet accepted Williams’ position, which it also applied to rugby
- Comes as the Sea Eagles have sadly dealt with the backlash of their pride jersey
- Fallout saw seven manly stars drop out of key Roosters clash
As the Sea Eagles continue to hide after their devilish manipulation of the club’s inaugural rainbow pride jersey, their rivals the Sydney Roosters have managed to adapt to a footballer’s religious beliefs in 2020.
Cross-code superstar Sonny Bill Williams, a devout Islamic man, refused to wear a Tricolors game strip at the time featuring one of the club’s sponsors, Unibet.
The betting company respected Williams’ wishes, with shirts displaying the logos of gambling companies, liquor companies and banks off the table due to his beliefs.
Williams also negotiated the outcome of his game strips during his time in the English Super League with Toronto as well as his successful stints in rugby union where he was based in New Zealand, France and Japan.
Almost two years ago, the Roosters, shrewdly led by billionaire Nick Politis, instead offered a small business “the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to promote themselves on the back of Williams’ shirt as a replacement for Unibet.
The inaugural Manly Pride jersey, modeled by Sean Keppie, Kieran Foran and Reuben Garrick
Seven players will not play for Manly on Thursday due to collective religious and cultural beliefs – that leaves coach Des Hasler (pictured) scrambling to name a squad for the Roosters clash
It comes as Sea Eagles stars Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolu Koula and Toafofoa Sipley told Manly officials in emergency talks on Monday night that they were opposed to wearing the rainbow pride jersey due to collective religious and cultural beliefs.
Not all seven will play against the Roosters, Hasler confirmed on Tuesday.
Despite the drama, Manly owner Scott Penn said the club wants to be known as a professional sports organization where everyone is welcome.
He also said the Sea Eagles remain committed to wearing their pride jersey Thursday at 4 Pines Park against the Roosters.
It features rainbow trim on the collar and sleeves as well as where the usual white trim is on the front of the sweater.
“It was totally an inclusivity and diversity jersey,” Penn told the Sydney Morning Herald.
In 2020, the Sydney Roosters allowed Sonny Bill Williams to play in his shirt not featuring the Unibet logo due to his religious beliefs.
Manly Sea Eagles owner Scott Penn said the club wants to be known as a professional sports organization where everyone is welcome.
Australian Rugby League committee chairman Peter V’landys believes Manly mishandled the matter
“It was never just about pride. It was about saying we want everyone in the game and making them feel like they can get involved.
Penn added that the seven players drawing intense criticism “have been put in a difficult position” and the club “will not force them”. that they play.
Australian Rugby League committee chairman Peter V’landys has admitted that Manly mishandled the matter.
“It should have been done collaboratively,” he told 2GB.
“We as a game respect everyone. No matter your sexual orientation, your belief in marriage, your race, your color, we respect you as a human being.
“The policy of the game has been this for many years, and it will not change.”