Rugby Australia will tear up Israel Folau’s contract after the star’s latest anti-gay message on social media.
‘In the absence of mitigating circumstance, it is or intention to terminate his contract,’ Rugby Australia said in a statement on Thursday.
‘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.
‘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.’
More to come.
Folau, 30, shared a ‘warning’ to ‘drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters’ to Instagram on Wednesday, saying ‘hell awaits’ them.
The devout Christian had shared similar sentiments in the past and was previously warned not to do so by Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle.
A Rugby Australia spokesman said Folau’s post was ‘unacceptable’ and that the organisation’s integrity unit was ‘engaged on the matter’.
Rugby Australia have slammed Israel Folau (right, with wife Maria left) for his latest homophobic social media post – as the scandal threatens to derail the star player’s career
Folau, 30, shared a ‘warning’ to ‘drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters’ to Instagram on Wednesday (pictured), saying ‘hell awaits’ them
The devout Christian has shared similar sentiments in the past and was warned by Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle. Pictured: Folau’s post on Wednesday
‘Rugby Australia is aware of a post made by Israel on his Instagram account this afternoon,’ the spokesman said.
‘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.
‘The Rugby Australia integrity unit has been engaged on the matter tonight.’
In February, Folau signed a multi-million dollar contract extension with the New South Wales Waratahs and Rugby Australia until the end of 2022.
Widely considered as one of the game’s best players, Folau became Super Rugby’s all-time leading try scorer on Saturday.
His post on Wednesday warned that those ‘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,’ Folau posted alongside two bible verses.
The star fullback also retweeted a story about Tasmania allowing gender to be optional on birth certificates.
A Rugby Australia spokesman said Folau’s post was ‘unacceptable’ and that the organisation’s integrity unit was ‘engaged on the matter’. Pictured: Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle
‘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,’ Folau tweeted.
In April 2018, Folau said gay people deserved to go to ‘HELL… unless they repent of their sins and turn to God’.
Folau made the comment on Instagram in reply to a question about God’s plan for gay people.
His comments forced a meeting with Ms Castle and Waratahs chief executive Andrew Hore, after major Wallabies sponsor Qantas said Folau’s statements were ‘very disappointing’.
Ms Castle acknowledged Folau had caused ‘grief to some people’.
‘Israel has presented his situation to us, where his views are, where his beliefs are,’ Ms Castle said.
Widely considered as one of the game’s best players, Folau (pictured) became Super Rugby’s all-time leading try scorer on Saturday
‘But at the same time Rugby Australia has also got a policy and a position of inclusion and using social media with respect.
‘Now both of us are going to go away and continue that dialogue, and work through how we continue to use how our social media platforms in a way that can ensure that all of our stakeholders are respected in the use of social media.’
During 2017’s same sex-marriage vote, Folau tweeted that he would not be supporting any change to the existing law.
‘I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions, but personally, I will not support gay marriage,’ he said.
Folau married New Zealand netball star Maria Tutaia in 2017.
He was raised as a Mormon and switched to the Australian Christian Churches with his family in 2011.