Rugby Australia and New South Wales Rugby Union have today announced that they intend to terminate the contract of star full back Israel Folau. This comes in the wake of another hugely controversial post on social media which suggests that ‘hell awaits’ homosexuals.
“He does not speak for the game with his recent social media posts,” said Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby Union in a statement made today.
“In the absence of compelling mitigating factors, it is our intention to terminate his contract.”
On Wednesday, Folau posted on Instagram that “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters” should “repent” because “only Jesus saves”, and made similar remarks on Twitter.
The governing bodies statement went on to say, “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,”
Folau, who only signed a huge four-year deal with the Waratahs in March, was criticised for similar comments he made last year, with Rugby Australia saying it accepted but did not support his “position”. The stance taken now by the governing bodies is very different.
“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.”
This extent of the action taken does come as a bit of a surprise due to the status of Folau as one of the worlds top players. Rugby Union as a sport has made huge strides in making the LGBTQ community feel welcomed and the beliefs clearly held by Folau will be undoing so much of the good work due to his superstar status within the global game. To see such action taken by the governing bodies in Australia is therefore very welcome.
Repeated attempts have been made by Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby Union to contact Folau all of which have been unsuccessful so far.
All of this means Australia are likely to be without their game breaker for the World Cup in Japan, obviously a huge blow. The insistence of Folau to repeatedly share views which are hugely offensive to a lot of people does put his employers in a position where they have little choice but to act decisively. However, you get the feeling that there may yet be more twists to the saga and the response of Folau will be very interesting.
Written by Stefan Hamilton