Israel Folau stands by social media comments as breach notice is served
Rugby Australia is pressing ahead with plans to terminate Folau’s contract.
Israel Folau is unrepentant over the homophobic comments made on social media that Australia head coach Michael Cheika declares have ended his Test career.
Rugby Australia confirmed on Monday morning that it is pressing ahead with plans to terminate Folau’s contract after its integrity unit ruled he has committed a “high-level breach of the professional players’ code of conduct”.
The 30-year-old devout Christian said on his Instagram account last week that “hell awaits” for “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators.”
View this post on Instagram
Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 KJV _______________ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38 KJV _______________ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30 KJV _______________
A legal battle with RA could ensue as Folau is refusing to retract divisive remarks that have been liked by a number of international players, including England number eight Billy Vunipola.
Folau, speaking at a Truth Of Jesus Christ Church service in Sydney, stands by his view in posts that remain visible and would rather accept the end of his career than issue a retraction.
“It’s obviously a decision that’s in the process right now but I believe in a God that’s in control of all things,” Folau told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Whatever His will is, whether that’s to continue playing or not, I’m more than happy to do what He wants me to do.”
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
When asked if the fallout has made him reconsider his comments, Folau replied: “Absolutely not. 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.
“First and foremost, I live for God now. Whatever He wants me to do, I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think. If that’s not to continue on playing, so be it.
“In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I’ll definitely miss it. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first.”
"Israel Folau, I'm calling you out."— Japan Rugby Club (@JapanRugbyClub) April 11, 2019
Japan captain Michael Leitch has posted this video on his Instagram in response to Israel Folau's latest homophobic comments.
Our captain. 😍 pic.twitter.com/rlQ3DRNvk3
Even if RA are unable to dissolve his contract on legal grounds – Folau has 48 hours to accept the union’s breach of contract or refer it to a hearing – then he will not be adding to his 73 caps.
A year ago Folau was warned for making homophobic comments on social media but escaped disciplinary action.
When asked recently if he would pick his most dangerous attacking player, Cheika said: “You wouldn’t be able to. We had a discussion after the last time and made it pretty clear about his right to believe and our support in that, if that’s what he wants, to be part of the team.
“But getting it out in that disrespectful manner publicly is not what our team is about.
Wallabies and NSW Waratahs fullback Israel Folau has today been served with a breach notice over his posts on social media platforms Twitter and Instagram on April 10.— Rugby AU Media Alerts (@RugbyAU_Media) April 15, 2019
READ: https://t.co/Su24GbUZzC pic.twitter.com/VYrT5BFiJT
“When you play in the gold jersey we represent everyone in Australia, everyone. Everyone that is out there supporting us, we don’t pick and choose.”
RA chief executive Raelene Castle insists that Folau is in breach of contract.
“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,” Castle said.
View this post on Instagram
So this morning I got 3 phone calls from people telling me to ‘unlike’ the @izzyfolau post. This is my position on it. I don’t HATE anyone neither do I think I’m perfect. There just comes a point when you insult what I grew up believing in that you just say enough is enough, what he’s saying isn’t that he doesn’t like or love those people. He’s saying how we live our lives needs to be closer to how God intended them to be. Man was made for woman to pro create that was the goal no? I’m not perfect I’m at least everything on that list at least at one point in my life. It hurts to know that. But that’s why I believe there’s a God. To guide and protect us and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
“It was made clear to him that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action.”
Folau has been stood down by the Waratahs and his rugby union career in Australia appears over, while a return to his roots in league has been ruled out by the Australian Rugby League.
Clubs in Europe will also be wary of signing a player who comes with considerable baggage and even Toulon have rejected the possibly of offering an escape route out of the crisis that has engulfed him and the sport Down Under.