/Israel Folau to be sacked by Rugby Australia over homophobic comments

Israel Folau to be sacked by Rugby Australia over homophobic comments

Updated

April 11, 2019 18:47:48

Rugby Australia (RA) has announced it intends to terminate Israel Folau’s contract following his latest online comments that homosexuals and other “sinners” will go to hell.

Key points:

  • RA says Israel Folau has not made contact with it since he posted homophobic messages on Twitter yesterday
  • The Wallabies star will now be sacked “in the absence of compelling mitigating factors”
  • RA says it has previously warned Folau posts that are “disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action”

Referring to an article about Tasmania’s decision to introduce gender-optional birth certificates, Folau took to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon to caution that “the devil has blindsided so many people in this world, REPENT and turn away from your evil ways”.

Some two hours later, Folau — who last year garnered widespread criticism over similar comments — wrote on Instagram “those that are living in sin will end up in hell unless you repent”.

RA and New South Wales Rugby Union said they had made attempts to contact Folau “both directly and via his representatives” since last night, but the star failed to communicate directly with either organisation.

“Whilst Israel is entitled to his religious beliefs, the way in which he has expressed these beliefs is inconsistent with the values of the sport,” an RA statement read.

“We want to make it clear that he does not speak for the game with his recent social media posts.

“Israel has failed to understand that the expectation of him as a Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs employee is that he cannot share material on social media that condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality.

“Rugby is a sport that continuously works to unite people. We want everyone to feel safe and welcome in our game and no vilification based on race, gender, religion or sexuality is acceptable and no language that isolates, divides or insults people based on any of those factors can be tolerated.

“As a code we have made it clear to Israel formally and repeatedly that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action.

“In the absence of compelling mitigating factors, it is our intention to terminate his contract.”

Folau, who on Saturday became Super Rugby’s all-time leading try-scorer, only recommitted to Australian rugby and the Wallabies two months ago.

The code-hopping star had threatened to walk away from the game after being hauled over the coals last year, saying his faith would always win over rugby.

“This is not about money or bargaining power or contracts,” Folau said at the time.

“It’s about what I believe in and never compromising that, because my faith is far more important to me than my career and always will be.”

Folau’s expected sacking is a hammer blow for Wallabies coach Michael Cheika just five months out from the World Cup.

ABC/AAP

Topics:

rugby-union,

super-rugby,

rugby-union-world-cup,

sport,

sydney-2000

First posted

April 11, 2019 18:25:46