An Australian TikTok star has been applauded by fans after he called out the Manly Sea Eagles rugby team for refusing to wear a gay pride-friendly jersey.
Seven players from the Sydney-based team plan to boycott a championship match this week in protest of the new jersey, which features rainbow bands.
Manly Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler said the players refused to wear the jersey on “religious and cultural” grounds.
The members have been criticised for their protest, with TikToker Scott O’Halloran branding them as “homophobic”.
In a video posted to O’Halloran’s brother, Luke’s TikTok account, Scott addressed the players who refuse to wear the jersey directly.
“Listen up, you fellas. When you put on your jersey you represent the sport and your team, not your religion,” he began.
“There are fans at home that are Black, white, brown, Christian, Muslim, trans, gay, bi, straight. Who the f*** are you to define the validity of that jersey?
“Because the last time I looked, it’s the members that pay really big bucks, and the sponsors that pay even bigger bucks to keep you’re a** employed.”
Scott continued: “Now you either go and chuck that jersey on, and you do your job, or I’m asking your club to stand you down permanently for your outdated, backwards, and homophobic views because let’s be really f***ing clear here, it’s got nothing to do with religion.
“I have a lot of religious friends that do not have a problem with my sexuality at all.”
Scott, who has more than 270,000 followers on the video-sharing platform, called on AFL and NRL fans and players, as well as people of faith, to share the video and “stand with the LGBT+ community”.
“Let us know that we are included in Australian sports,” he said. “Be an ally and not a homophobe, it’s really f***ing ugly and tiring.”
— Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (@SeaEagles) July 24, 2022
The video was met with praise and support from fans of the TikTok star, as well as rugby fans and people who claimed to be religious.
One person commented: “I’m a Christian, not a homophobe. It’s not right making other people feel like dirt. Love you Scott.”
Another said: “That’s actually incredibly well-articulated. Amazing.”
“The rant we are here for,” a third added. “Go for it Scott! It’s 2022 and we shouldn’t be having these conversations still.”
The team players were also condemned by Ian Roberts,a former Manly Sea Eagles player and the first professional rugby league player to come out as gay.
He described the boycott as “sad and uncomfortable”, adding: “I can promise you every young kid on the northern beaches of Sydney who is dealing with their sexuality would have heard about this.”
In a statement, Hasler apologised on the club’s behalf to the players and the “minority groups within the community who embrace the rainbow colours as a symbol of pride in who they are”.