August 03, 2022
Pride jerseys add mental stress to players
An expert in Pacific wellbeing is concerned at the effect the controversy over refusing to wear gay pride jerseys has had on the mental health of seven Pasifika Manly rugby league players.
University of Auckland research fellow Caleb Marsters’ doctoral thesis looked at the mental health and well-being of Pasifika athletes, and he’s currently working on a Health Research Council-funded study on how Pacific men seek help for mental health issues.
He says the players were forced to make a snap decision because the club failed to consult them about the rainbow-themed strip for last Thursday’s game against the Roosters.
“I think it definitely speaks to the importance of communication and agency and empowerment, what does that look like for our Pacific athletes because we do want them to feel empowered but at the same time when they do have different views and beliefs, how are they going to navigate that?” Dr Marsters says.
He says the players will definitely be suffering mental health stress both from their decision and because of the backlash from fans and the media.