Newly unemployed rugby union star Israel Folau has met with Rugby Australia after it terminated his contract over ongoing anti-LGBTI social media posts. He informed them he planned to fight the decision.
Folau came under fire last year for saying ‘God’s plan’ for gay people was ‘hell’ unless they repented for their sins. That lead to a warning from Rugby Australia any further posts containing hate speech would lead to the end of his contract.
Folau, 30, was a star player on a multi-million dollar contract for the national rugby team and the state team, the New South Wales Waratahs.
But two days ago, the devout Christian took to Instagram and Twitter to continue his anti-LGBTI rhetoric. On Instagram he shared a photo warning ‘hell awaits’ homosexuals, atheists, fornicators and other ‘sinners’.
On the same day he also tweeted a photo of a news story about Tasmania passing historic new gender laws. From now on in Tasmania recording gender markers on birth certificates will be optional.
‘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,’ Folau wrote on Twitter.
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. pic.twitter.com/BWSWTMye98
— Israel Folau (@IzzyFolau) April 10, 2019
Fighting until the end
Following his latest social media posts Rugby Australia and Rugby New South Wales terminated his playing contract.
‘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. We want to make it clear that he does not speak for the game with his recent social media posts,’ the CEOs of both organizations wrote in a joint statement.
The CEOs – Raelene Castle and Andrew Hore – said they had tried to contact Folau who had not responded.
That is until Friday afternoon when Folau was spotted entering Rugby Australia’s headquarters in Sydney. He met with Castle, Hore and representatives of RA and RNSW.
Folau reportedly informed them he would be seeking a code of conduct hearing according to the Daily Telegraph. He told them he would be exercising his right to defend himself before his employment can be ended.
But Castle and Hore remain unchanged in their stance.
‘Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union have met with Israel Folau in Sydney today,’ they said in a statement.
‘Following today’s meeting the two organisations will update their respective Boards on the matter to consider next steps.
‘Our joint position regarding Israel Folau is unchanged.’
Earlier that day a TV news crew from 9 News spotted Folau having breakfast at a cafe with his wife, Rugby Union Players’ Association boss Prataal Raj and an unknown person.
As he approached his car, the news crew asked if he regretted his social media posts.
‘No,’ Folau replied.