Bob Katter Has Compared Manly Players Boycotting Pride Round To Holocaust Victims
Katter also referenced George Pell and Israel Folau in what he called the most important statement of his life.
Queensland MP Bob Katter has weighed in on the Manly Sea Eagles pride jersey situation in what he called the most important statement of his life.
Earlier in the week, seven Manly players announced they would be boycotting Thursday’s game after being informed the team would be wearing pride jerseys to inspire inclusivity in sport. The boycott very quickly sparked great debate across the league, resulting in coach Des Hasler issuing an apology — in which he quoted Gandhi.
Ahead of the game — which kicks off against the Roosters tonight — Katter called a press conference in Parliament’s Mural Hall, to which he arrived bible in hand.
“You believe in this book, you’re gonna be persecuted, they’re coming for you. So stand up,” said Katter wearing a maroon scarf. “I’m sorry, people like myself in our cowardice haven’t stood up before but now we must.”
Throughout his lengthy press conference, Katter referenced his family history in rugby league and drew comparisons to the Holocaust.
“Six million people were sent to the gas chambers in Germany because they believed in this book. It started pretty unthreatening “oh we just want you to tell us whether you believe in the bible and that you’re a Jew”,” said Katter. “This continued persecution is well and truly alive today. Just have a look at what’s happened to these seven boys from Manly.
“They have been persecuted for no other reason than they have moral conviction and whether you agree with their convictions, or not, is irrelevant.”
Katter asserted that the players have been “heroic” and that “every decent member of society should admire them” for sticking up for their religious beliefs. He then went on to slam the club for making the jerseys in the first place, declaring that the move was “prostituting” rugby league.
“Prostituting the great game, that one of my family lost his life in, and use it to promote your beliefs… that is the complete opposite of what rugby league is,” said Katter, referencing his uncle, who died playing the sport. “It’s a brotherhood, you stick by your mates, it is a manly game – bit of irony there. Well, how did the Manly club love their fellow players?”
To further his point that the players have been allegedly persecuted, Katter likened their situation to Israel Folau, Cardinal George Pell and former Governor-General Peter Hollingsworth — who was forced to resign over reports he failed to properly respond to child abuse allegations.
“First, they targeted the Hollingsworth and biggest church in Australia. He was torn to pieces,” said Katter. “Having finished with the biggest church in Australia, they then started on the leader of the second biggest church in Australia.
“Eighty-one people said he (Pell) was over there, one person he was over here. But the Gestapo in Victoria said we’re going to throw you in jail, and they did.
“Then they turned to the Evangelicals. They started on Israel Folau. They took his whole life away from him and destroyed his career because he made a quote from this book.”
It must be stressed that Manly has accepted and respected the seven players’ decision not to participate in this week’s game. While the situation has been heavily scrutinised in the media, it is understood that the players’ jobs and positions in the team are not in jeopardy as a result of their choice.
Despite the backlash, Manly’s pride jersey sold out within hours.