Corey Parker fires back at Josh Aloiai over Manly pride jersey saga

Pictured right is NRL great Corey Parker and Manly prop Josh Aloiai on the left.
Corey Parker has fired back in his running feud with Manly prop Josh Aloiai over the rainbow jersey controversy. Pic: Ch9/Getty

NRL legend Corey Parker has hit back at Josh Aloiai after the Manly star called him an "idiot" for criticising Sea Eagles players over the infamous pride jersey controversy.

Aloiai joined other members of the 'Manly 7' in this week speaking out about the rainbow jersey drama, largely credited with derailing the club's season and ultimately leading to the sacking of coach Des Hasler.

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Manly prop Aloiai was one of seven Sea Eagles players who cited religious beliefs as the reason for refusing to play in the rainbow strips during the round 20 game against the Sydney Roosters.

The contentious boycott made headlines around the country, with widespread speculation that it caused a divide between the Manly playing group.

Retired Brisbane Broncos great Parker - who works as an NRL analyst on Fox Sports - was among those to criticise the 'Manly 7' for taking exception to a pride-themed jersey when the Sea Eagles are sponsored by a betting company and play out of a stadium named after an alcohol company.

In his interview with Channel Nine this week, Aloiai singled out Parker for specific criticism.

"Corey Parker — he came and said, 'Don't pick and choose'. He hammered us in the media. 'You ran out with your gambling sponsor jerseys and your beer sponsor stadium'. I would love for him to show me in the Bible where it mentions gambling. It doesn't. Nor does it forbid alcohol within itself. But he's an idiot."

Parker has since hit back at Aloiai, who he said was entitled to his opinion, but stressed that it "didn't make sense".

“Since that day (rainbow jersey boycott), 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 (gay-pride issue)," Parker told The Courier Mail.

Aloiai also raised eyebrows during his interview after claiming his gay sister had no issues with the stance the Manly star and his teammates took against the pride-themed jerseys.

“Me and her (have a tight relationship) and she knows that I love her to bits.

“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.’”

Josh Aloiai says he and other Manly teammates have no intention of wearing a pride-themed jersey next season should the club go down that road once more. Pic: Getty
Josh Aloiai says he and other Manly teammates have no intention of wearing a pride-themed jersey next season should the club go down that road once more. Pic: Getty

Parker says he can't understand how Aloiai - whose own sister is homosexual - could take such a strong stance against wearing a rainbow jersey.

“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?

“It’s just garbage and now he is saying he will do it again next year. Do these guys not realise who pays the bills and who pays their wages?”

Josh Aloiai defends 'Manly 7' stance

Aloiai - who's indicated he would boycott wearing the rainbow strip again next year - says Parker and others have missed the point in their criticism around the 'Manly 7'.

The Sea Eagles prop says just because he is not willing to "endorse" LGBTIQ rights by wearing a rainbow jersey, doesn't mean he hates or disrespects any members of that community.

“We still have nothing but respect for people that choose to live that way of life,” he said.

“We personally don’t want to live that way or endorse it but, at the same time, we quietly took our stance and didn’t say anything hateful or hurtful.

Aloiai said he and his Manly teammates had received death threats but would not waiver in their beliefs.

"The short answer is no, I won't (play in a pride jersey)," he told the Nine Network.

"We didn't compromise this year and we won't compromise next year or the year after.

"A difference of opinion is not a difference of respect."

with AAP

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