Rugby league: NRL weighs up 'Respect' round, after Sea Eagles' Pride backlash

NRL chairman Peter V'Landys has proposed the competition adopt a 'Respect' round, after resistance to a 'Pride' concept last season. 

Seven Manly Sea Eagles players refused to wear a special rainbow jersey designed to recognise the LGBTQ+ community, arguing it clashed with their religious beliefs and they were not properly consulted.

The Sea Eagles were beaten by Sydney Roosters in that encounter, lost every match of their season afterwards and missed playoffs. Coach Des Hasler lost his job and is now reportedly considering legal action against the club.

The issue of Pride rounds in Australian sport reared its head again last month, when Cairns Taipans players also refused to wear rainbow singlets in the ANBL, also citing religious beliefs.

Australian outlet The Daily Telegraph has published results of a survey among NRL coaches and assistant coaches, indicating only 33 percent supported a Pride round. 

Last November, the NRL backed down from implementing Pride round as an annual tradition. 

As a counter, the NRL will look into the idea of a Respect round, V'landys told The Daily Telegraph, embracing all beliefs. 

"We were always going to look at a Respect round," V'landys said. "A Respect round respects everyone's views.

"We might not agree with them, but we respect them, so if we were going to do anything, we were going to do a Respect round. It wasn't going to be a Pride round, because then you alienate other people.

"We pride ourselves on being an inclusive game. To be an inclusive game, you have to respect everyone's view."

Going back on Pride round is an about face for the NRL, who publicly backed Australia's push for same-sex marriage in2017, with US artist Macklemore performing his song 'Same Love' at that year's Grand Final, despite resistance from former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.