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Rugby Australia fires Israel Folau over homophobic social media posts

Rugby Australia fires Israel Folau over homophobic social media posts

Israel Folau walking outside with headphones and a back pack on, he is wearing a Wallabies rugby jacket

Rugby Australia officially fired star player Israel Folau on Friday (17 May).

‘People need to feel safe and welcoming the game, regardless of their race, background or sexuality’ said Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle.

On April 10, Folau, who is a devout Christain, shared an image which said ‘hell awaits homosexuals’.

He also said people need to ‘repent’ for a new Tasmanian law allowing parents to opt out of putting their child’s gender on birth certificates.

‘Mr Folau knew when he pressed that button these were the implications that post was going to have’ castle said.

The 30-year-old now has 72 hours to appeal.

A Code of Conduct hearing at Rugby Australia began on 4 May and ended on Tuesday (7 May).

The three-person panel earlier found Folau committed a high-level breach of the Professional Players’ Code of Conduct.

It was not the first time Folau shared homophobic messages on his social media.

He voiced his opposition to marriage equality during Australia’s postal survey on the issue. Last year, he posted on Instagram that gay people should repent for their sins.

‘I’ll stand on what the Bible says’

‘Following the events of last year, Israel was warned formally and repeatedly about the expectations of him as player for the Wallabies and NSW Waratahs with regards to social media use and he has failed to meet those obligations.

Folau vowed to fight his termination at the Code of Conduct hearing. He also stood by his social media posts.

‘I’ll stand on what the Bible says. I share it with love. I can see the other side of the coin where people’s reactions are the total opposite to how I’m sharing it,’ he said last month.

‘That’s the message that I’m trying to share, even though it comes across as harsh. I can’t change what the word of God says.’

See also

Homophobic posts cost Israel Folau another sponsorship deal 

Rugby star Israel Folau found guilty of breaching contract over homophobic posts 

Gay rugby player slams Israel Folau: ‘Gay kids are killing themselves’