Ulster Rugby CEO backs pride participation amid fan criticism
Ulster Rugby CEO Jonny Petrie has defended the club's decision to take part in the Belfast Pride festival amid criticism from some of the club's supporters.
Ulster Rugby will be represented in next month's parade as they look to to promote equality and inclusiveness in rugby while reinforcing that Ulster Rugby is a safe space for all players and volunteers in the LGBTQ+ community.
However, the news did not go down to well with some of the club's followers with some criticising the decision on the club's Facebook page.
One of the more popular comments read 'why cant we keep sport separate from this nonsense! I have no idea why clubs are tripping over themselves to show support for this movement.'
"Big mistake by Ulster Rugby. This could well bring division into the team. What if some of the players are unhappy with this?"
While another read:
"Not the stuff Ulster Rugby should be involved in. Disappointed in this action. Sport should not be involved in political issues of any sort. Individuals certainly but not as Ulster Rugby."
There were also a lot of users backing the campaign but Petrie defended the club's decision to participate and insisted their involvement was not a political move.
I've been astounded to see some of the negativity surrounding our participation in this. Taking part was an easy decision - we are an inclusive club and this is an inclusive sport and that is something to be proud of. It's not a political stance. I'll see you there 🌈 https://t.co/XuAKHXeJJ7
— Jonny Petrie (@JP_Petrie) July 27, 2019
The Belfast Pride Parade is the biggest cross community parade in the city and is the main event in the Northern Irish LGBTQ calendar. Last year’s parade attracted 55,000 people.
For more information, please visit www.belfastpride.com.