NRL player opens up sexuality after Manly pride jersey fiasco

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Toby Rudolf, pictured here in action for the Cronulla Sharks.
Toby Rudolf has opened up about his sexuality. Image: Getty

Cronulla Sharks forward Toby Rudolf has made a brave revelation about his 'fluid' sexuality in the wake of the Manly pride jersey fiasco.

Seven Sea Eagles players refused to wear the jersey celebrating inclusiveness and withdrew from the side's game against the Sydney Roosters on Thursday night, citing religious and cultural reasons.

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They watched on from home as Manly lost 20-10 in a major dent to their finals hopes.

Addressing the furore in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Rudolf backed plans for a 'pride round' in the NRL while also opening up about his own sexuality.

“Love is love, and I love to share it with everyone," the Cronulla forward said while revealing he identifies as heterosexual.

“I haven’t got caught up in the Manly situation. What I will say is I was raised by quite a few gay and lesbian community members. My uncle is gay and my godmother is gay, and there’s so much love in that community.

“Sexuality is very fluid. I’ve been out and kissed many gay men, kissed many straight women and kissed many gay women.

“I’m not a one-stop shop. Love is love, and I love to share it with everyone. You could say I’m open to both genders but only attracted to one of them.”

Rudolf sparked controversy last year in a post-match interview with Fox League when he said he’d celebrate a win with “probably about 1000 beers”, adding he would “go to (Cronulla bar) Northies, try and pull something. Anything will do”.

He was warned by NRL CEO Andrew Abdo about having 'respect for women', but later responded: “At the time of that interview I never said ‘women’.”

Toby Rudolf, pictured here in action for Cronulla against Melbourne Storm.
Toby Rudolf in action for Cronulla against Melbourne Storm. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Peter V’landys backs idea of NRL 'pride round'

Speaking earlier this week, ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys said the NRL could have a 'pride round' as early as next year.

“Absolutely. We are very proud that we are a game for everybody,” V’landys said on Tuesday.

“That’s why I’m in this game, because I had a difficulty being accepted as a migrant and rugby league accepted me.

“It was inclusive back then and it is inclusive now. It’s important that every boy and girl and man and woman can go to the game and feel they can be treated the same as everyone else.”

Manly players, pictured here wearing the pride jersey against the Sydney Roosters.
Manly players wear the pride jersey against the Sydney Roosters. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

But speaking after Manly's loss to the Roosters, captain Daly Cherry-Evans said the game needed to be careful moving forward.

"It's really important for us to understand where everyone comes from," Cherry-Evans said.

"How can we not go in there and understand and accept what people have done if we are out here trying to promote inclusiveness and diversity?

"It's not easy ... there is human emotion to this, so it's never going to be perfect.

"But I always see the opportunity in things. I think this could be a chance for us to come together and understand a bit more about each other."

with AAP

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