Australian Basketball Team Players Refuse To Wear Pride Jerseys

Australian Basketball Team Players Refuse To Wear Pride Jerseys
Image: Cairns Taipans Coach Adam Forde.

Days after the National Basketball League announced its inaugural Pride Round, a few players from one  Australian team have reportedly refused to wear jerseys that feature the Pride logo for religious reasons.

Cairns Taipans are scheduled to take on South East Melbourne Phoenix on Wednesday for the first Pride Round match at the State Basketball Centre in Melbourne. Some Cairns Taipans players will not join their teammates who will wear the Pride logos on their singlets in solidarity with the LGBTQI community.

The club confirmed that it welcomed the Pride Round, but was supportive of the decision of some players, who have decided to boycott the Pride jerseys.

NBL Acknowledges Challenges Of Pride Round

NBL announced the Pride Round on Monday, saying all courts would display the Champion’s Pride Progress flag  ‘C’ logo. The option of wearing jerseys with the Pride logo was left to individual players. 

“We acknowledge, at times, there will be challenges with various stances we take as an organisation and they may conflict with some people’s beliefs,”  NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said in a statement, adding, “Regardless, we will continue to work together to support each other, and we will always respect that people may have different views, opinions and values to ours.” 

Melbourne United player Isaac Humphries, who in 2022 became the first male basketball player in the world to come out, had welcomed the Pride round as “another step towards the League and basketball becoming a more comfortable and welcoming environment.”

Isaac Humphries is the first male player in a top-tier basketball league in the world to come out as gay. Image: Instagram

Club Blames Media For Focusing On Players’ Boycott

Some Cairns Taipans players did not seem to agree as they refused to don the Pride logo. The club welcomed the Pride round and added that it was supportive of the choice made by some players to not wear the pride jerseys. 

In a statement, the club said that all its players attended a training session conducted by Pride In Sport.  “The Taipans support inclusivity and diversity as core values of the organisation, including respect for all religions, ethnicities and cultures that contribute to the richness of the club,” the statement said.

The club said it would approach the Pride Round “from a position of love and respect, without judgement” and blamed the media for focusing on its players who had refused to wear the Pride logos on their uniforms.   

“It has been disappointing that instead of focusing on the LGBTQ community and the positivity around the initiative, some media commentary has instead focused on players who may be conflicted because of religious beliefs or personal circumstances,” the Club said.

Freedom Of Choice, Says Coach

“The club hopes its fanbase and the wider basketball community will embrace the inclusivity that Pride Round is championing in a constructive way and celebrates diversity in our society and our sport. The Taipans will continue to work with Pride in Sport and looks forward to more opportunities for LGBTQ education and initiatives,” the Club added.

Coach Adam Forde also backed the players saying “We’re about inclusion and freedom of choice – live and let live.”

“This is the beauty of what the message is, everybody has freedom of choice that they can be comfortable with themselves and not be segregated or excluded because of it,” Forde said in comments reported by the Daily Mail.

In July 2022, seven Manly players had similarly boycotted Rainbow Pride jerseys and sat out of the Sea Eagles’ Pride round game against the Sydney Roosters.






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