Tue. May 26th, 2020

Israel Folau: Career in the balance as Rugby Australia condemns homophobic post

israel folau homophobicIsrael Folau’s contract with the Waratahs was extended based on the understanding that he’d be more respectful in expressing his views on social media.

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Rugby Australia slammed Israel Folau’s social media post where he said that “hell awaits” gay people as unacceptable. The player made the comments on Instagram on Wednesday.

The 30-year old was not punished for his homophobic remarks
last year, with the governing body then saying it did not support his views.

On Wednesday, however, Folau posted on Instagram that  “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars,
fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters” should “repent”
because “only Jesus saves”.

On Twitter, he posted: “The devil has blinded so many
people in this world, REPENT and turn away from your evil ways. Turn to Jesus
Christ who will set you free.”

The comments came on the back of he Tasmanian parliament
becoming the first Australian state to make it legally optional to list gender
on birth certificates.

In a statement, Rugby Australia said the post “does not
represent the values of the sport and is disrespectful to members of the rugby
community”, adding that its integrity unit had been “engaged on the

The Waratahs player was previously criticsed for saying he
opposed same sex marriage back in 2017. In 2018, when asked on Instagram  “What was god’s plan for gay

He replied: “hell… unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.”

Rugby Australia was quoted by the the Sydney Morning Herald
as saying their “integrity unit” has been engaged on the matter
adding that the comments were viewed as disrespectful.

Folau was previously given a sort of gag order, prior to extending his contract with the Waratahs, on the condition that he would be more respectful on social media.

With his latest message seemingly going against that deal,
and the player previously insisting the will not back down from his fundamentalist
religious beliefs regarding homosexuality and same-sex marriage, the Waratahs
find themselves in a sticky situation.

Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle grilled Folau on the matter back in 2018. However, the organisation distanced itself from his views as it walked a fine line between freedom of expression and its commitment to inclusiveness.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika refused to criticise Folau
and said youngsters should find another idol if they don’t agree with their
sporting heroes back in 2018.

Fellow Wallaby David Pocock, a strong advocate of marriage
equality, insisted at the time that Folau’s outspoken views would not affect
harmony within the national team.

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