NBL Pride Round 2023: Cairns and Phoenix coaches demand understanding for players’ religious attitudes
Cairns Taipans manager Adam Forde has defended his group of players who are reluctant to wear a Pride logo on their shirts as Phoenix mentor Simon Mitchell urged understanding.
News Corp announced Monday that some Taipans players were reluctant to display the league’s rainbow pride insignia on their jerseys during Wednesday night’s final clash with the Phoenix, citing religious beliefs.
Forde said he supports the NBL’s initiative to leave the decision to wear the logo in the hands of each individual player, but defended his charges’ agency and urged that no person be “singled out” unless they choose to do so hold.
“It’s a great initiative from the NBL,” Forde said.
“We are about inclusion and freedom of choice – live and let live.
“That’s the nice thing about the message, everyone has the free choice that they feel comfortable and are therefore not marginalized or excluded.”
Mitchell, whose players Mitch Creek, Ryan Broekhoff and Owen Foxwell were at the forefront of the league’s Monday announcement celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, said education cannot be “forced” on people.
“We’re trying to get to a place in our society where we’re tolerant of each other, we care about each other, we wish each other the best, and we hope we can help each other through that,” Mitchell said.
“I just feel like people sometimes get to this point at different stages in their lives.
“I don’t think we can force enlightenment on people – they have to find it.
“Religion or organized religion and beliefs based on it is a difficult path.
“I’m not a remotely religious man, but I hope we treat these players with all the respect they deserve and hopefully at some point they realize that supporting other groups in our community doesn’t necessarily mean you. resume a lifestyle or give up your faith.
“It means having empathy for the needs of those around you and hoping for the best for everyone.”
In Round 17, courts will feature Champion’s Rainbow Pride logo and players will have the option to wear the logo on their jerseys.
Mitchell announced his team, currently sixth in a spate of teams chasing a Finals spot, would be without injured forward Ryan Broekhoff for the final two games of the season.
But the shooter, who strained his adductors as he spilled 26 points on Perth on Sunday, could return for the play-in game – if the Phoenix makes it.
“We’re better off than we thought, but we still don’t have him for two important games and he won’t be healthy until we qualify,” Mitchell said.
Originally published as NBL 2023: Cairns and Phoenix coaches demand understanding for attitude of religious players in Pride Round
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