Peter FitzSimons has slammed Israel Folau once again after the embattled athlete demanded an apology from Rugby Australia.
The Rugby legend, who has been one of Folau’s harshest critics throughout the ongoing saga, took the spotlight on Nine’s Sports Sunday to unleash a scathing attack on the former Wallabies star.
‘Camera one on me. Israel Folau and your demand for an apology… mate, bring it in tight,’ FitzSimons said.
‘Last year you put up a post that caused Rugby Australia to bleed for three weeks. It was a homophobic slur, biblically based, whatever.
‘Last year you put it up. Three weeks of ugly headlines. Teams losing. Supporters, sponsors running for the exit. It was a disaster.
Peter FitzSimons looked directly into the camera as he blasted Folau for demanding an apology over his sacking
Folau (pictured with his wife Maria) broke his silence on a Sky News interview last week where he said: ‘[I’m] driven by my faith – being number one – and my wife… My family and my friends’
‘Despite that, Rugby Australia signed you up for $4million for four years. Here we are almost a year later and you put up an identical post,’ he said.
Folau saw his multimillion-dollar contract torn up in April after sharing a post on Instagram stating homosexuals were going to hell.
In April 2018, he came under fire after making similar comments when a fan asked him what God’s plan was for gay people.
FitzSimons blasted the athlete saying he decided to put his teammates through the ‘same agony’ even after acknowledging the trouble he had caused with his previous post.
‘What happened? We’ve been engulfed by two months of this nonsense, this disaster. Millions of dollars being bled from rugby. Sponsors for the exits, members turning away.
‘And you think rugby owes you an apology. In the words of the late Peter Frilingos, that’ll do me. Unbelievable,’ he said.
In his first interview since his sacking, Folau addressed the controversy with conservative commentators Alan Jones and Petra Credlin on Thursday night.
Folau was joined by conservative commentators Alan Jones (right) and Peta Credlin (left) on Thursday evening to discuss freedom of speech in Australia
Embattled ex-rugby star Israel Folau appeared in first interview since he was sacked by Rugby Australia
Folau stood by his faith, despite admitting the ordeal had been ‘tough’ on his family.
‘It’s been a very tough time for myself, Maria and our families… but we are holding up really strong from the support,’ he said on Sky News.
FitzSimons went on to criticise Folau’s remarks calling the interview ‘ridiculous.’
‘Give me a break. That was no interview that was a defence attorney leading his client through the whole thing,’ he said.
FitSimons’ attack comes just as Folau’s former Wallabies teammate Nick Cummins weighed in on the controversy in this week’s Stellar magazine.
Cummins admitted he supported his friend’s right to express his opinion but doesn’t necessarily believe in his message.
‘I commend [Folau] for his courage, for having an opinion in these times. I think it’s something we deserve, the right to [one’s] own opinion,’ Cummins said.
Folau (right) heaped praise on his wife Maria (left) during the interview, calling her a ‘strong woman’
In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Folau said he was ‘humbled’ by the support following the termination of his RA contract
‘But I also have a spiritual part to me that’s like, “Hang on a second, everyone is equal,”‘ he added.
Folau is gearing up for a $10million legal battle against Rugby Australia, claiming unlawful termination.
During Thursday’s interview, Folau said RA asked him to remove the post and would pay him money to take it down, but he said he ‘couldn’t live with that’.
‘I felt like I was backed into a corner… that I had to compromise to what they were asking,’ he said.
RA, for their part, on Thursday denied offering Folau money to remove the post.
‘Any suggestion that Rugby Australia offered Israel Folau money to remove a post made on April 10, 2019, is completely untrue,’ an RA statement said.