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Rugby Australia to sack Israel Folau for 'disrespectful' social media posts

The Wallabies fullback has drawn widespread condemnation for his Instagram and Twitter posts.

RUGBY AUSTRALIA SAYS it intends to sack Wallabies star Israel Folau after his latest controversial social media posts.

The Australian union says it has been unable to contact Waratahs player Folau since his posts on Instagram and Twitter yesterday and has now stated that “[i]n the absence of compelling mitigating factors, it is our intention to terminate his contract.”

Israel Folau dejected after the game Folau is a global superstar in rugby. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Folau’s homophobic and “disrespectful” posts yesterday drew widespread condemnation from the world of rugby and beyond.

Qantas, the lead sponsor of the Wallabies, also expressed their disappointment and said Folau’s comments “clearly don’t reflect the spirit of inclusion and diversity that we support.”

The 30-year-old’s latest Instagram post, which remains online, is accompanied by a meme that warns that hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators.”

Meanwhile, his most recent Twitter message includes a screenshot relating to Tasmania making gender optional on birth certificates.

Folau, who is a devout Christian, writes, “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.”

View this post on Instagram

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. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19‭-‬21 KJV _______________ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38 KJV _______________ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30 KJV _______________

A post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on

Rugby Australia has moved swiftly in response, with Folau having previously made similar social media posts as recently as last year, when he claimed that gay people would go to hell.

A statement from Rugby Australia CEO, Raelene Castle and New South Wales Rugby Union CEO Andrew Hore, reads:

“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.”

Japan captain Michael Leitch was amongst those critical about Folau’s post. 

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Murray Kinsella

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