Isaac Humphries reacts to Cairns NBL club’s pride jersey boycott

NBL Isaac Humphries reacts to Cairns Taipans NBL CLUB pride jersey boycott refusal
Images: Instagram, Supplied

Gay basketballer Isaac Humphries has reacted to NBL club the Cairns Taipans’ boycotting pride jerseys with a rainbow logo during the NBL’s inaugural Pride Round.

The NBL has launched its inaugural Pride Round earlier this week. For a string of matches, courts displayed NBL sponsor Champion’s rainbow flag logo.

Players also were offered singlets featuring the rainbow logo on the front. But the Cairns Taipans all refused to wear the pride singlets in their game against South East Melbourne Phoenix.

Earlier it emerged a smaller cohort of Taipans players were “hesitant” to wear the jersey for religious reasons.

Ultimately, during the match, all the club’s players refused the pride jersey over a “barrage of abuse and harmful commentary” and “individuals targeted and shamed” in the leadup, the Taipans said.

“This is a negative distraction to what should be a positive experience across the game,” the club said in a statement.

“Now we feel as though our only choice as a team is to collectively opt out of this season’s uniforms.

“This is not a reflection of our individual stances or personal views, but a protection of our brothers that are being set up to be vilified and no longer feel as though they have a safe space in our sport.”

‘What kind of courage did we display?’

Melbourne United NBL player Isaac Humphries came out as the NBL’s first openly active gay player in November in a moving speech to his club.

He said at the time hiding his sexuality severely impacted his mental health. Earlier this week, Humphries applauded the NBL creating the Pride Round.

He and United will wear the pride jerseys on Saturday when they play the New Zealand Breakers.

Reacting to the Cairns Taipans’ refusal, Isaac Humphries told ESPN, “My teammates are like family. Like family, I will always come from a place of love and acceptance.

“So, when it comes to inclusion, I will always stand up and speak out when needed for my sport, for my community.

“I’m disappointed for my LGBTQ+ family of athletes and coaches who live silently in the closet.

“If we are going to move forward with true equality, equity and inclusion in sport for LGBTQ+ athletes, we have to start by getting honest.

“We have to acknowledge there is a problem. The obligation is on all of us, no matter where in the sport power matrix we live.

“In the meantime, I will continue to encourage us all to come together, respect each other, lift each other up, and I will use my platform to give voice to the voiceless.

Isaac Humphries went on, “Each of us needs to ask ourselves: what kind of courage did we display when our leadership moment arrived?”

Rainbow Champion logo on NBL Pride jersey during Pride Round.
Image: NBL

‘We have not mandated our players wear pride jersey’

Announcing the Pride Round on Monday, the NBL said players could wear regular singlets during the Pride Round if they prefer.

“The NBL fully respects and understands that there may be people in the community with different views to those being conveyed through the Champion Pride round,” NBL boss Larry Kestelman said this week.

“Hence we have not mandated that our players have to wear the Pride jersey and if any player or team elect not to wear the jersey, we will respect that decision.”

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

1 Comment

  1. Peter Turner
    27 January 2023

    You’d think the Cairns Taipans were being asked to have gay sex under the bleachers.
    All the wearing of the singlet with a rainbow on it would show is that they supported inclusion in the sport.
    Surely any player could do that, no matter what their religious persuasion.

    Of course our community’s rights have been relegated to “second best” yet again. As usual we must give way to someone’s religious beliefs.

    I am happy to support anyone’s right to choose whatever religion they choose but that right should never come at the expense of our right to inclusion.

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