In Brief

Israel Folau to be fired: rugby world calls out ‘misinformed bigot’ and ‘bully’

Rugby Australia intend to terminate Folau’s contract over anti-gay social posts

Rugby Australia has confirmed its intention to terminate Israel Folau’s contract following his posts on social media that said “hell awaits” homosexuals.

The 30-year-old Wallabies and NSW Waratahs full-back posted a picture on Instagram which said: “Warning: drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators. Hell awaits you - repent! Only Jesus saves.”

In a caption he added: “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.” 

‘He does not speak for the game’

Responding to the social media posts, Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union have “put the foot down” on Folau’s multi-million dollar four-year contract, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

In a statement Australian rugby’s governing body said: “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.

“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 world hits out at ‘bully’ Folau

The Daily Mail reports that many rugby stars around the world have condemned Folau for his controversial post.

Northampton and England flanker James Haskell said on Twitter: “This is the biggest load of s*** I have ever read. Sport has no place for this crap.

“Keep it to hate groups @IzzyFolau, you aren’t spreading the lord’s word. You are spreading hate. You are an unreal player, but a f****** misinformed bigot.”

Japan captain Michael Leitch called out Folau for being a “bully”. He said: “We can’t accept this kind of behaviour. I’m not politically correct - I’m not smart in those types of things - but when I see a bully, the first thing I have to do is call them out and I think I’m calling you out for the right reasons.

“Whether I’m right or whether I’m wrong, I’m not sure, but the post you’ve made is wrong and I think you should made a comment and apologise or do something to make amends, because I think you’re a fantastic player, there’s no doubt about that, and I’m sure you’re a nice guy. But the way you’re doing it is wrong.”

World Cup woe

The Daily Telegraph says that Rugby Australia’s intention to fire Folau is a “hammer blow” for Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika who will lose his best player just five months before the 2019 Rugby World Cup.  

The former Aussie rules and rugby league star has been capped 73 times for Australia’s rugby union side and has scored 185 points for the Wallabies. He also recently became Super Rugby’s all-time leading try-scorer with his 60th try for the Waratahs, ABC reports.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Tom Decent said: “The glittering rugby career of Wallabies and Waratahs star Israel Folau has all but come to a screeching and sudden halt.”

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