Updated at 21.32
ISRAEL FOLAU STANDS by his controversial comments on homosexuality and revealed he offered to walk away from his Rugby Australia contract if his position was deemed to be untenable.
The Australia and Waratahs full-back avoided punishment for saying homosexuals should go to “hell” unless they “repent their sins and turn to God”.
Folau broke his silence in a lengthy PlayersVoice piece on Monday, saying he offered to quit and accusing Rugby Australia chief executive officer Raelene Castle of misrepresenting his position and remarks.
He wrote: “After we’d all talked, I told Raelene if she felt the situation had become untenable – that I was hurting Rugby Australia, its sponsors and the Australian rugby community to such a degree that things couldn’t be worked through – I would walk away from my contract, immediately.
“I feel I need to explain this part in more detail because at no stage over the past two weeks have I wanted that to happen. There have been things written about me angling to get a release from my Rugby Australia deal to pursue an NRL contract. That simply isn’t true. There have been rugby offers from the UK, Europe and Japan that are way above anything I could earn in Australia.
“This is not about money or bargaining power or contracts. It’s about what I believe in and never compromising that, because my faith is far more important to me than my career and always will be.
After the meeting I went home, turned on the TV and was really disappointed with some of the things that were said in the press conference. I felt Raelene misrepresented my position and my comments, and did so to appease other people, which is an issue I need to discuss with her and others at Rugby Australia.
“That aside, I hope Raelene and [Waratahs CEO] Andrew [Hore] appreciate my position, even if it differs with theirs.”
Folau stressed that he is not homophobic or bigoted but reinforced the comments he made on Instagram earlier this month.
He stated: “I do not know the person who asked the question [on Instagram], but that didn’t matter. I believed he was looking for guidance and I answered him honestly and from the heart. I know a lot of people will find that difficult to understand, but I believe the Bible is the truth and sometimes the truth can be difficult to hear.
“I think of it this way: you see someone who is about to walk into a hole and have the chance to save him. He might be determined to maintain his course and doesn’t want to hear what you have to say. But if you don’t tell him the truth, as unpopular as it might be, he is going to fall into that hole. What do you do?
In this case, we are talking about sin as the Bible describes it, not just homosexuality, which I think has been lost on a lot of people. There are many sins outlined in that passage from 1 Corinthians and I have been guilty of committing some of them myself.
“No man or woman is different from another – if you sin, which we all do, and do not repent and seek forgiveness, you will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Originally published at 18.17
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