So during the week, The Manly Sea Eagles and their apparel partner Dynasty Sport decided that Round 20 would be the perfect time to release an 'Everyone in League' jersey.

Tyler Rakish, founder/director of Dynasty said "The ‘Everyone in League' Jersey is something we've wanted to do for a number of years now. As soon as we got the concept locked in, all parties have contributed to make it what it is and it's something we're all really proud of."

Pay no attention to the fact that the jerseys have sold out. This has been a PR disaster.

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Incredibly, the playing group (ie those who are to wear it) were not consulted. Seven players are supposedly refusing to play this round, despite the club not backing down from its unofficial 'pride round' strip.

Though not confirmed by the players at the time of writing, it is assumed their position is based on their personal religious beliefs, with the irony of their home ground and primary jersey sponsor being an alcoholic brewing company and gambling outlet lost on nobody.

READ: Des Hasler's full statement

But in its attempts to demonstrate inclusivity, the club's actions and the consequential stance of its more evangelical players has awoken the otherwise buried pockets of anger that were last heard from around the time of the Australian gay marriage plebiscite.

In fact, according to research, verbal and physical assaults against LGBTQ people more than doubled and mental health services recorded a sharp spike in people accessing their support.

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The debate surrounding Manly's jersey has resulted in some horrifying social media confrontations in comment sections around Facebook and Twitter, with staunch advocates of inclusivity going head to head with those who still remain adamant that sexuality is a choice, and that LGBTQ people are sinful.

Coming back to the 'Everyone in League' theme, it seems that the focus is less about 'everyone', and more about the LGBTQ community. Has this been a ploy to make money selling special edition jerseys? It's difficult to see otherwise. 'Everyone' would probably also encompass those with disabilities, those of varying ethnic and religious backgrounds, women, players from a range of socio-economic upbringings and with a range of educational achievements.

Yet when we see rainbow piping on a jersey, there is an inference of consideration of the LGBTQ community.

The NRL has long been a boys' club where sexuality is suppressed and concealed. Around 3% of the Australian population identify as gay, lesbian or 'other', according to Census data and there are over 160,000 registered participants of rugby league in Australia.

How many players do you know in the NRL who are openly gay?

Those who know the story of Manly great Ian Roberts know that it took until long after he left the game to come out, and that he suffered horrendously both before and after the fact.

Much of the narrative surrounding the awakening of Roberts' teammates on the field was about realising that gay people could also be tough, and that they weren't weak. So good news LGBTQ folk, you are now entitled to a little bit more respect, but only if you're 'tough'.

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The NRL is tokenistic, to say the very least.

The NRL Indigenous Round lasts four days in total, and naturally, there are a whole host of special edition jerseys to flog. And once the round ends, so too does the acknowledgement of country, welcoming ceremonies, performances and acknowledgement of traditional Indigenous country names.

Round 22 is traditionally 'Women in League' round, where the focus is primarily on the role that women play in the lives of NRL men.

And while the NRL does invest in programs that address societal issues such as domestic violence and Indigenous pathways from school to employment, on the surface of it all, to those watching at home, the NRL does not include everyone, it just pays tribute every now and then to maintain a marketed image.

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Inclusivity on television has long been a talking point. If there is limited ethnic Australian representation on the screen, how can young aspiring actors feel as though they have a pathway there and to feel as though they can be embraced in the industry?

It's the same when it comes to the football field. Indigenous and Pasifika players would hold no fears about playing rugby league, because for so long they have seen people just like them, belonging and achieving on the field.

If Manly and the NRL want to promote a welcoming environment for 'everyone', it's going to take far more than a special edition $160 jersey for a round. And the irony of promoting inclusivity without including the players in the discussion is short-sighted to say the least.

Like it or not, there are hotbeds of racism, sexism and homophobia lying within the current crop of players, as there is within wider society. When instances of abuse reach the surface and consequentially the media, it's only then that players come out to apologise and vow to learn. In turn, the NRL discusses how it aims to educate the players further on matters of equality and harmony.

Do players apologise for holding their views? Or that their views are condemned to the point where their contracts are jeopardised?

As for the players refusing to play because the jersey is too gay for them, that's their right and I support their position. If I played in a team that suddenly thought it appropriate to promote a political party or even something far, far worse, I'd sit out too.

These players can get back to wrestling sweaty blokes and representing alcohol and gambling companies next week.