UPDATE: Following a night of unwanted attention and mass media analysis of the decision of several Manly players to boycott the upcoming round over a pride jersey, it appears some players may be willing to backtrack their original decision.
Channel 7's Michelle Bishop told Sunrise that at least three players are considering wearing the club's pride jersey following a “change of heart” and a night in the court of public opinion.
“Of the seven players refusing to wear the jersey, at least three have had a bit of a change of heart and are considering wearing the jersey for the upcoming round,” Bishop said.
Though the names of those players are unknown, Josh Schuster, Jason Saab, Josh Aloiai, Toafofoa Sipley, Tolutau Koula, Christian Tuipulotu and Haumole Olakau'atu are the seven players who had initially decided to boycott the round.
That decision was made during an emergency meeting last night – originally scheduled for today – in the wake of claims from those players that they were never consulted by the club about the jersey and wider campaign for inclusivity and the media frenzy that has engulfed the club since.
NRL Chief Executive Peter V'Landys weighed in on the issue this morning, suggesting the players were ‘within their rights' not to play.
“Rugby league is the greatest game of all,” he said on 2GB.
“It's inclusive, but at the same time you have to respect people's religious beliefs and cultural beliefs.
“Those players are taking a stand and they've got every right to – they've got freedoms to do so.”
The players were supported in their decision by coach Des Hasler, who ‘understood the difficult position they had been placed in as a result of not being consulted' according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The latest news comes after a whirlwind 24 hours for the club, which began with the initial announcement of the jersey yesterday morning.
The club is set to become the first NRL team to ever don a jersey promoting the theme of inclusivity under the title ‘everyone in league'. The Sea Eagles are committed to wearing the jersey and won't back down.