Pride jerseys add mental stress to players

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Gideon Porter

Caleb Marsters – Pride jerseys add mental stress to players

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A Pacific wellbeing expert is concerned about the effect the controversy over refusing to wear gay pride shirts has had on the mental health of seven Pasifika Manly rugby league players.

A Pacific wellbeing expert is concerned about the effect the controversy over refusing to wear gay pride shirts has had on the mental health of seven Pasifika Manly rugby league players.

University of Auckland researcher Caleb Marsters’ doctoral thesis focused on the mental health and well-being of Pasifika athletes, and he is currently working on a Health Research Council-funded study of how men of the Pacific seek help for mental health issues.

He says the players were forced to make a quick decision because the club did not consult them about the rainbow-themed tape for last Thursday’s game against the Roosters.

“I think that definitely speaks to the importance of communication, agency and empowerment, what does that look like for our Pacific athletes because we want them to feel empowered, but at the same time, when they have different opinions and beliefs, how are you going to navigate that? says Dr. Marsters.

He says the players will definitely suffer mental stress both from their decision and from the negative reactions from fans and the media.


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