Out Gay NRL Legend Ian Roberts Slams Manly 7’s Josh Aloiai Over Pride Jersey Boycott

Out Gay NRL Legend Ian Roberts Slams Manly 7’s Josh Aloiai Over Pride Jersey Boycott
Image: Ian Roberts (left) and Josh Aloiai.

NRL sporting legend Ian Roberts has criticised Manly’s Josh Aloiai’s explanations for refusing to wear the Pride jersey, months after the Manly 7 controversy first reared its head

Ian Roberts is the first out gay rugby league player and called Josh Aloiai “ignorant” after the Manly prop broke his silence on the Pride jersey debacle, emphasising his refusal to wear it if the team ever decided to bring the initiative back. 

Aloiai had stood by his decision and stated that his gay sister “totally understood” his choice.

In an interview with Nine News, Aloiai appeared to suggest that people in same-sex relationships were choosing to live “that way of life”. “We still have nothing but respect for people that choose to live that way of life,” Aloiai said, before claiming that their conduct was not hateful towards LGBTQI people.

Roberts Questions Aloiai Over His Claim That His Gay Sister Supports Him

Aloiai revealed that his older gay sister had spoken to him on the phone during the controversy. “Throughout all this happening, we did have a chat and she totally understood where I was coming from. She rang me up and was like: ‘How are you going? You all right? It’s so crazy the way the media has blown this out of proportion’.”

Roberts rejected this reasoning and questioned Aloiai’s admission that his gay sister supported him. Roberts said that the way Aloiai spoke about his sister did not “sit well” with him, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.

“If she’s been told, ‘We love you but, you know, you can’t bring your lifestyle home’ or, ‘You can’t be who you are’, that’s dismissing her and who she really is”, Roberts said. 

Roberts described a situation with his younger sister who he believed was always “totally accepting” of his sexuality but had decided to vote against the marriage equality vote which was a “real smack in the face” for him. “In reference to Josh, he’s living in a fantasy world”, Roberts said. 

‘Very Ignorant’

The former professional rugby league player was critical of Aloiai’s choice to refuse to wear the Pride jersey in the future, asking “Why isn’t he going to wear the jumper? I still don’t think I’ve heard a deep enough reason for him to say that.”

Roberts described Aloiai as “very ignorant”, expressing the irony of him asserting the “acceptance of all people” but drawing the line at “wearing a rainbow.”  “He’s saying he is loving and Christian, but the acceptance isn’t for everyone. It’s contradictory and it’s hypocritical.

Aloiai’s interview also labelled former NRL legend Corey Parker “an idiot”  for criticising Sea Eagles players over the Pride jersey controversy.

Parker responded to Aloiai’s comments, stating that they “didn’t make sense”. “Since that day, those guys cost their club a chance to play semis and they got their head coach (Des Hasler) sacked, it’s all off the back of that (Pride jersey debacle),” Parker told The Courier Mail.

“Some of his comments are contradictory. Like, he said his sister is gay. His own sister. He grew up in a household where his sibling was gay, and he won’t wear the jersey … what is that?” Parker said. “How would she feel about his stance?” 

Roberts Condemns Death Threats

In response to the news that the Manly prop shared about his family receiving death threats following the Pride jersey boycott, Robert asserted that that was “totally unacceptable” and described feeling upset that this had occurred. 

Roberts related this experience to his own, revealing that receiving death threats “was not unfamiliar for anyone in the queer community, particularly my age.”

“I mean, you only go back to the ’80s and ’90s and gay people were being thrown off cliffs. So we’ve kind of lived with that whole violence and death thing … and because he is getting death threats that’s the reason, we need a pride round for inclusion and acceptance”, Roberts said.





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