Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Rugby Australia integrity unit investigate Folau over anti-gay post

Folau was given a warning last year after making homophobic comments on his social media channels.

Australia’s Israel Folau
Australia’s Israel Folau

Israel Folau faces a showdown with Australian rugby chiefs after posting anti-gay views on social media.

In a statement, Rugby Australia described content within the post as “unacceptable” and said its integrity unit was looking into Folau’s conduct.

The Wallabies star was warned last year, but avoided any disciplinary action, for making homophobic comments on his social media channels.

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 post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on

A message published on his Instagram account on Wednesday read that “hell awaits” for “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators.”

Folau said 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.”

Rugby Australia responded in a statement, which read: “Rugby Australia is aware of a post made by Israel Folau on his Instagram account this afternoon.

“The content within the post is unacceptable. It does not represent the values of the sport and is disrespectful to members of the Rugby community.

bpanews_7f563abf-26cd-4062-9d55-4a33a13045b3_embedded239860013
Israel Folau scores a try for Australia against England at Twickenham earlier this season (Adam Davy/Pa Wire)

“The Rugby Australia Integrity Unit has been engaged on the matter tonight.”

Folau, 30, was reminded of his social media obligations by RA chief executive Raelene Castle last year.

There were also threats from sponsors of the Australian national team that they would withdraw support following his social media posts.

Kirsty Clarke, director of sport at Stonewall, also condemned Folau’s actions.

bpanews_7f563abf-26cd-4062-9d55-4a33a13045b3_embedded240551033
Folau is set to be a key part of Australia’s World Cup squad, which starts in September (Adam Davy/PA)

She told Press Association Sport: “Tackling offensive language is a crucial part of helping LGBT people feel welcome in sport.

“Folau’s comments are just one example of how much work is still left to do to combat discrimination and the use of hateful language against lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.

“It’s important that Rugby Australia have stepped up to challenge Folau’s abusive comments.

“Our work with national governing bodies and International Federations, alongside our Rainbow Laces campaign, aims to give people the confidence to tackle anti-LGBT abuse and show their visible support for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, on and off the field.

“The more players, fans, clubs and organisations that stand up for equality, the sooner we kick discrimination out and make sport everyone’s game.”

Folau has won 73 caps and is a key part of Australia head coach Michael Cheika’s World Cup plans this year. Last weekend, he broke the Super Rugby try-scoring record.

He currently has a contract with the Wallabies and Sydney-based Waratahs that does not expire until 2022.

In a Twitter post on Wednesday, meanwhile, Folau became involved in Tasmania’s gender birth certificate debate.

Tasmanian authorities have decided, in a ground-breaking move for an Australian state or territory, to make genders optional on birth certificates.

But in response to that, above a screenshot of a report on the subject, Folau tweeted: “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.”

Former Wales international Gareth Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009, responded on Twitter.

The 44-year-old wrote: “I don’t write this with hate or anger after Israel Folau’s comments. I write with sympathy. To everyone who reads it, don’t be influenced by his words. Be the better person and be YOU. Whoever YOU is..Hell doesn’t await YOU.Happiness awaits YOU.”

International Gay Rugby, the global organisation for the world’s gay and inclusive rugby clubs, said in a statement: “The effects these hateful comments will have on LGBT people are enormously harmful.

“We want all LGBT athletes out there to know that rugby is a sport where you are welcome and respected, a sport of values that doesn’t allow for such bigotry or discrimination of any kind.

“We are taking a keen interest on the findings of Rugby Australia’s Integrity Unit when they meet tonight and applaud the union for taking the stance that these kinds of comments are unacceptable.”

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph