AFLW: GWS player Haneen Zreika declines to wear pride jumper on religious grounds
Greater Western Sydney player Haneen Zreika has withdrawn from this weekend’s AFLW clash after deciding not to wear the club’s pride jumper.
Zreika, a practising Muslim, cited religious reasons for her decision after addressing Giants teammates in an emotional and educational meeting earlier this week.
It is understood the 22-year-old worked with the Giants and the AFL, but ultimately decided to withdraw from the clash with the Western Bulldogs.
Zreika, who became the first Islamic player to play AFL Women’s in 2019, played in last weekend’s official Pride Round, but the Giants did not wear a jumper in support of LGBTQIA+ - reserving it for their home game against the ‘Dogs.
It is understood the Giant supports her teammates and their beliefs but strives to be a leader within the Muslim community, which could be comprised if she wears the jumper on Friday.
Zreika’s decision follows the controversy surrounding West Coast’s decision to not have a pride jumper in 2022.
The Eagles are the only AFLW team not to have designed a pride jumper this season, despite being represented by members of the LGBTQIA+ community in their playing ranks.
That decision was defended by West Coast general manager of community and game development Richard O’Connell, who said the club had chosen to focus on releasing a new AFLW Indigenous jumper.
Eagles coach Michael Prior refused to comment on the decision declaring: “I think we’ve done the pride stuff to death.”
He later apologised “to everyone who was offended” for the remarks.
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