Australian rugby star claims Christian players were told to stay silent about support for Israel Folau
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Wallabies star Samu Kerevi has claimed Christian players were told to stay silent about their support for Israel Folau during his off-field scandal which resulted in his Rugby Australian contract being torn up.
Folau was infamously sacked by the sport's governing body back in 2019 following a string of homophobic social media posts.
Despite being warned, the cross-code star continued to post and he was eventually punished by having his multi-million-dollar deal terminated.
Believing he was dismissed unfairly, Folau even took Rugby Australia to court demanding $14 million in a case which was settled outside of court.
Now, with a new two-part documentary on the saga set to be released, one of Folau's former colleagues has shed some light on the situation.
Australian centre Kerevi, who is an ex-international teammate of Folau, has claimed that Christian players were instructed to remain quiet about their support for him while the social media storm was unwinding.
“We got told from our media teams not to say anything about supporting Izzy or saying anything at all,” he said, according to Newscorp.
“But after those coming days it was everyone that didn’t support him was all over the news. They were to be interviewed. They were allowed to say that they don’t support the message.”
He added: “No-one asked us our opinion on it. They just said, you know, Rugby Australia supports gay marriage... for most of us boys, it started turning to anger because there were so many things going on in rugby," the injured star said.
“People were going to court or whatever, and they're not getting sacked. If someone does domestic violence and he's OK to play, but someone that's posted something that was in the Bible, no, let's not play on.
“That balance, I just didn't understand at the time and I didn't want to accept. I was ready to go to battle for my faith and stand up for my beliefs.
“Me liking a post, it just turned from zero to 100 real quick. Being called a 'bigot' and stuff, and people saying 'I'll see you in hell'.
“It was really hard to take as a Polynesian group. As a Christian and a Polynesian, I understood both sides. I have family who are gay, and they're Christians. They believe in God, they understand what their lifestyle choices are. I understand both sides."
According to Yahoo Sports, Rugby Australia has denied instructing the playing squad to remain quiet.
Instead, ex-Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle insists the governing body openly encouraged players to express how they felt on the matter
“I felt we engaged as widely as possible on what was a very difficult issue and (the players) were given opportunities to speak both privately and publicly," she said back in 2020.