Peter V'landys ripped over 'diabolical' suggestion for NRL 'Respect Round'

Many have suggested ARLC chairman Peter V'landys has missed the point with his suggestion of a 'Respect Round' in the NRL.

Peter V'landys is pictured left, with a shot of the 2022 Manly Pride jersey on the right.
Peter V'landys says the NRL is unlikely to hold a dedicated Pride round in future, but has suggested an alternative 'Respect Round'. Pictures: Getty Images

Rugby league boss Peter V'landys has been mocked by fans online over his suggestion for the NRL to host a 'Respect Round', which he claims will be an opportunity for fans of the game from all walks of life to 'respect everyone's views'. The thought bubble was raised in response to recent attempts by multiple codes to host a Pride Round, aimed at promoting more inclusion for the LGBTIQ+ community in sports.

Notable recent attempts to host a Pride round have lead to controversy. The Manly Sea Eagles attempted to host their own, but after not properly consulting players, the club became divided when seven players refused to wear a specially designed jumper featuring a rainbow strip, citing their religious beliefs.

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A similar controversy occurred during the NBL's recent Pride round, however the league made the sensible decision to allow players to choose whether or not to wear a specially designed jersey. After one Cairns Taipan player opted not to do so, the rest of the team followed suit to show support for their teammate.

In an interview with the News Corp, V'landys rejected the idea of the NRL hosting a dedicated Pride Round, instead bringing up the idea of the 'Respect Round'. The ARLC chairman said the concept had been one that had been considered for quite some time.

“We were always going to look at a Respect Round,” V’landys said. “What a Respect Round is, is that it respects everyone’s views. We might not agree with them, but we respect them.

“So if we were going to do anything we were going to do a Respect Round. It wasn’t going to be a Pride Round because then you alienate other people. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive game. To be an inclusive game you have to respect everyone’s view.”

V'landys' comments were met with ridicule on social media. Many suggested the rugby league heavyweight was missing the point of holding a Pride Round in the first place.

Other were also confused as to how Pride had become such an issue for the NRL, given the league had publicly supported same-sex marriage before it was eventually passed in parliament in 2017. The NRL invited American performer Macklemore to perform hit song 'Same Love' at that year's grand final.

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V'landys' comments came in the context of a News Corp survey of 24 NRL coaches and assistant coaches regarding various issues in the league. Half of those surveyed said the NRL should not proceed with a Pride Round in future, with 33% responding that they should, and the remainder preferring not to say.

Curiously, those surveyed were fairly evenly split when asked if they personally would encourage their players to wear a Pride jersey. With 16% preferring not to say, the remaining respondents were split evenly between yes and no, at 42% each.

Moving on from the saga at Manly, which saw the Sea Eagles' season collapse and eventually lead to the departure of head coach Des Hasler, is a key task facing incoming coach Anthony Seibold. However he remains confident in the group's ability to move on from the divisive moment.

Anthony Seibold is confident last year's Pride fiasco will not affect Manly's 2023 NRL season. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)
Anthony Seibold is confident last year's Pride fiasco will not affect Manly's 2023 NRL season. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

“Until you get into a group, it really is hard to know what is going on,” Seibold said. “I only saw the commentary from a distance. One of the things I have been really pleased about is we have worked really hard on building connections and being together as a group.

“The guys have invested a lot of time in that. I see a group that wants to get better, I see a group that enjoys each other’s company.

“As I said, the next challenge for us as a group is to show the potential we have. The only way we do that is by winning games and putting in good performances in games.”

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