Rugby Australia Terminates Israel Folau's Contract After Homophobic Posts On Social Media
Israel Folau has had his contract with Rugby Australia terminated after he posted homophobic comments across his social media accounts.
The 30-year-old rugby player took to his Instagram account to post a shocking anti-LGBT message: "Warning. Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators. Hell awaits you. Repent! Only Jesus saves."
Folau, who has previously revealed that he is a devout Christian, continued to make the damming statements on Twitter.
After Tasmania became the first Australian state to make it legal for gender listing to be optional on birth certificates, he said that 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."
According to Sky Sports, Rugby Australia revealed that they were investigating Folau's comments. However, Australia's governing body for rugby said that it had been unable to contact him.
Rugby Australia confirmed in a statement that Folau's contract had been terminated in the "absence of compelling mitigating factors."
The full statement reads: "Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Rugby Union have made repeated attempts to contact Israel both directly and via his representatives since 6.30pm on Wednesday, and at this point he has failed to communicate directly with either organisation.
"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 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) 10 April 2019
"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.
"Rugby is a sport that continuously works to unite people. We want everyone to feel safe and welcome in our game and no vilification based on race, gender, religion or sexuality is acceptable and no language that isolates, divides or insults people based on any of those factors can be tolerated.
"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.
"In the absence of compelling mitigating factors, it is our intention to terminate his contract."
The International Gay Rugby, which represents gay rights and inclusivity across the world, has supported the decision of Rugby Australia.
"The decision by Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union, today upholds rugby's core values of respect and sportsmanship," says Ben Owen, the chair and trustee of the IGR.
"Rugby has become one of the most inclusive sports on the planet, where players, spectators and officials, regardless of their ability, race, age, sexual orientation or gender identity and expression can enjoy the game without fear of discrimination by others.
"When someone like Folau makes statements like this, it sends a message that members of the LGBT community are less-than and it can have irreparable harm.
"On behalf of our gay and inclusive rugby community, we hope the decision made today sends a clear message to the world, that any kind of discrimination has no place in our sport."
Featured Image Credit: PA