The Folau case is a public relations disaster for Qantas and Rugby Australia

Spiro Zavos Columnist

By Spiro Zavos, Spiro Zavos is a Roar Expert

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    The Israel Folau saga is proving a major headache for Rugby Australia (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

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    What has happened to Israel Folau indicates that the inclusion and diversity programs run by Qantas and Rugby Australia seem to be, to coin a Trumpsim, ‘fake’ initiatives.

    Moreover, the exposure of the attempts to gag Israel Folau has created a public relations disaster for Qantas and Rugby Australia.

    The rugby community boasts that their code is “the game they play in heaven.” But for how long in this era when Israel Folau is gagged about expressing his religious beliefs can this boast be proclaimed without someone or some group claiming that they are excluded by the mantra?

    There are, as we now know, no limits to the spread of bandwagon fever. Indeed, at some stage, an atheist is going to agitate for Rugby Australia to drop any reference to rugby and heaven.

    The point I am making here is that there is no opinion that someone does not find offensive. This is why the test for whether a person violates a code of conduct should never be whether some people believe they have been offended.

    Let me state this as strongly as I can. In a free speech society, people are allowed to express views and thoughts that others agree with and others disagree with and even find offensive.

    In a free society, you must be free to express views that offend other people.

    At the core of the action taken by Qantas and Rugby Australia in the Folau case is the notion that if some members of the gay community are offended, then the right of another person to express his religious beliefs must be suppressed.

    But where is the concern about the rights of people who support the religious beliefs of Folau? No one knows for sure, but there could well be a majority of people in the rugby community who support Folau for expressing his religious beliefs.

    Has it not occurred to Rugby Australia or Qantas, also, that they represent privileged white males and females telling a person of colour that he must not express his religious beliefs because these beliefs are not inclusive?

    Who is being inclusive here?

    Has it not occurred to Raelene Castle, the chief executive of Rugby Australia, that by gagging Folau she is also potentially excluding the entire rugby-playing Polynesian Christian community from their rights, guaranteed under RA’s Code of Conduct 1.3, to be treated “equally, fairly and with dignity regardless of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, cultural or religious background, age or disability. Any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination has no place in Rugby.”

    It is interesting that the only player who has specifically commented on Rugby Australia trying to gag Folau is a fellow teammate, the Polynesian Waratahs and Wallabies player Curtis Rona who posted on Instagram: “We stand with #IsraelFolau.”

    Rona had this to say in justifying his supportive tweet: “I know it’s a touchy subject for people, it’s hard for people to comprehend that everyone has a different opinion. I just want everyone to know that I support Izzy, he means a lot to all Christians, and for him to be getting all this negative feedback is very undeserving.”

    Curtis Rona

    What is Rugby Australia going to do about this statement of support for Folau from a fellow Waratahs player?

    Folau, with his tweet about being persecuted for his faith, seems to be in no doubt that he is being bullied by Rugby Australia.

    Free speech is only free speech when people are able, on both sides of an opinion, to express their point of view.

    This brings us to Rugby Australia’s Code of Conduct 1.7 for players: “Use Social Media appropriately … do not use Social Media as a means to breach any expectations and requirements of you as a player contained in this Code …”

    And section 1.3 of the Code of Conduct: “Treat everyone equally, fairly and with dignity regardless of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, cultural or religious background, age or disability. Any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination has no place in Rugby.”

    I don’t see how these sections (1.3, 1.7) of the Code of Conduct can be used against Folau for expressing a Christian belief that is centuries old that does not apply to anyone who is not dead.

    I bring in now my main witness in the defence of Israel Folau, Tim Wilson, a Liberal Party Federal MP, a former Human Rights Commissioner, and as a gay man, a leading voice in the Same Sex Marriage debate.

    If anyone can provide clarity on the Israel Folau case, it is Wilson.

    Here is what he has said about the matter: “Targeting Folau falsely feeds a mindset that he is persecuted for his opinions. Everyone needs to take a chill pill, respect Folau’s authority on the rugby field, and also recognise that he is employed in a profession that values brawn over brains…

    “It is ridiculous for sponsors to walk away from Rugby Australia because of Folau’s opinions. Companies have the freedom to sponsor organisations that share their values, but it would be absurd to make a collective sponsorship decision based on an individual player who isn’t hired based on his opinions.

    “If Qantas and other sponsors punish Rugby Australia they’d be saying Australians can’t associate with them if they have religious or moral views.”

    Removing Wilson’s disrespectful (in my view) dismissal of Folau’s intelligence, what he is saying is that Qantas and Rugby Australia have every right to have their own point of view.

    But they do not have a right to require individuals involved with their activities to suppress the publication of their religious views.

    Would Folau have been hit with a Code of Conduct violation if Rugby Australia’s major sponsor Qantas had not made a complaint? Of course not.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the real reason Rugby Australia is trying to gag Folau is because Qantas wants him silenced. Rugby Australia gets a third of its income from sponsorships. Qantas is a major sponsor.

    It would appear, therefore, that Rugby Australia is trying to protect its sponsorship from Qantas by trying to gag Folau.

    Qantas has the right to put its sponsorship where it likes.

    But there is an obvious problem with the company’s objection to Folau’s expression of his religious belief on gays going to hell. That problem relates to the fact that the attack on Folau is totally hypocritical.

    Israel Folau Wallabies Australia Rugby Union 2017

    As a letter writer to The Australian has pointed out: “How, then, is Qantas able to continue its partnership with Emirates, given the Islamic injunctions against homosexuality in the United Arab Emirates?”

    The hypocrisy has been intensified even since Qantas made its attack on Israel Folau.

    A few days ago, after Qantas sought to gag Folau, the company announced that it had sold its catering arm to its “global alliance partner Emirates.”

    If the deal is approved by the ACC, the Emirates dnata catering, cargo handling group will have 11 catering facilities in Australia and will operate in 13 countries, including all the Emirates in the UAE.

    This, is turn, means that about 1200 employees in Australia will become dnata employees.

    How would Rugby Australia react if Emirates dnata catering, cargo handling group told the organisation that in accordance with its beliefs about homosexuality it would sponsor Rugby Australia if it stopped the practice of allowing Wallabies to march in the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival in their Wallaby jerseys, a practice that has been sanctioned for some years?

    This case of Qantas and Rugby Australia trying to gag Israel Folau from expressing his religious beliefs has degenerated, it seems obvious from public comments in the media from commentators ranging from Tim Wilson, to Peter Beattie in his role of ARL Commission chairman, through to Alan Jones, into a public relations disaster for both organisations.

    Qantas has been painted as a hypocritical organisation more interested in thought-control than freedom of expression.

    The company and its chief executive are happy to do business with Islamist businessmen who tolerate the awful punishment of homosexuals.

    But, at the same time, Qantas is prepared to persecute a sportsman with an impeccable record of public behaviour because he dares to express traditional Christian beliefs on hell.

    Rugby Australia is currently running an inclusion and diversity program to encourage Polynesians and Muslim youngsters to get into rugby.

    Its handling of the Folau case has created a public relations disaster for that program.

    How is Rugby Australia going to explain to Christian Polynesian and Muslim youngsters that the expression of aspects of their religious beliefs will not be tolerated if they become good enough to become professional rugby players?

    Raelene Castle, the chief executive of Rugby Australia, is insisting that Rugby Australia’s inclusion policy is about “family where everyone feels welcomed and everyone can be respected.”

    Try asking Israel Folau whether he feels welcomed and respected by Rugby Australia.

    Try asking the thousands of Christians in the rugby community whether they now feel welcomed and respected by Rugby Australia.

    I leave the last word on this matter of whether Israel Folau should be gagged by Rugby Australia and Qantas with Peter Beattie, the ARL Commission chairman: “Look, in terms of his comments, there is nothing illegal with what he said. They are not views I share. But we do live in a democracy and people are entitled to their views as long as they are not illegal.

    “The reality is people like me don’t agree with him but that shouldn’t stop him from playing football … I just think we should be a little careful here not to get too autocratic about what people can say and can’t say.”

    Mark this up to a public relations victory for the NRL over Rugby Australia, especially in the Polynesian community.

    Spiro Zavos
    Spiro Zavos

    Spiro Zavos, a founding writer on The Roar, was long time editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he started a rugby column that has run for nearly 30 years. Spiro has written 12 books: fiction, biography, politics and histories of Australian, New Zealand, British and South African rugby. He is regarded as one of the foremost writers on rugby throughout the world.

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    The Crowd Says (463)

    • April 16th 2018 @ 11:50am
      Christo the Daddyo said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:50am | ! Report

      “Mark this up to a public relations victory for the NRL over Rugby Australia”

      Er, no. You must have missed Greenberg’s comment that Folau’s comment would be unacceptable in the NRL.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 12:50pm
        LuckyEddie said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

        But Greenberg has no trouble with players sniffing cocaine and beating up wives. What a weird world but the NRL , AFL etc have to keep their bosses in the media happy.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 7:24pm
          sheek said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

          Russell Crowe was happy to do away with cheer girls, thus removing a legitimate career path for hundreds of young girls & young women aspiring to be dancers, or simply retaining their fitness for their own sports.

          But he’s happy to sign a sponsorship deal with Star City Casino. As we know, gambling sends millions of Australians broke, while filling the pockets of corporate bookmakers & the govt.

          • April 17th 2018 @ 6:54am
            i miss the force said | April 17th 2018 @ 6:54am | ! Report

            hundreds? a career? they dont get paid

      • April 16th 2018 @ 7:43pm
        Noodles said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:43pm | ! Report

        No one should care what Folau or any sports person thinks about any subject other than their sport. The amusing reality is that none of them have anything interesting to say about their sport.
        Personally I like the idea of Alan jones going to hell.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 9:26pm
        Reverse Wheel said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

        • Roar Guru

          April 16th 2018 @ 9:59pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:59pm | ! Report

          Thanks for sharing.

          After a quick read, one thing is for sure, Izzy doesn’t come through as unintelligent or careless person at all (as some has suggested). Surely someone has helped him to write this, but that does not change my impression one bit, he is a thinking man.

          • April 17th 2018 @ 6:54am
            i miss the force said | April 17th 2018 @ 6:54am | ! Report

            thats because he didnt write it

            • April 17th 2018 @ 6:58am
              Rugby Tragic Too said | April 17th 2018 @ 6:58am | ! Report

              who wrote it exactly?

            • April 18th 2018 @ 2:22pm
              Phil said | April 18th 2018 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

              Like,you know that for sure do you?Does that mean you wrote it?

        • Roar Rookie

          April 16th 2018 @ 10:04pm
          Shane D said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

          Great comment from Folau. I am glad he has put his position & intent in a clear & heartfelt way.

        • Roar Guru

          April 16th 2018 @ 10:26pm
          PeterK said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:26pm | ! Report

          He certainly has the strength of his convictions and is not a hypocrite.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 10:57pm
          Fin said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:57pm | ! Report

          Thanks for the post. I don’t think anyone should be surprised by his loyalties.

          It is going to be very interesting to see where things go from here. Castle has a massive challenge on her plate.

    • April 16th 2018 @ 11:52am
      Christo the Daddyo said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:52am | ! Report

      “Qantas is prepared to persecute a sportsman”

      How is Qantas persecuting Folau? Remembering that criticising someone does not automatically equal “persecution”.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 11:59am
        Objective said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:59am | ! Report

        Ummm, the same way it’s perceived that Folau is persecuting gays. It’s called opinion.
        Can’t have it both ways pal.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 1:22pm
          JJJ said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

          By pulling their corporate sponsorship unless RA gags him.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 2:27pm
          Christo the Daddyo said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

          So both parties have expressed their opinions. Still waiting for any evidence of actual persecution of Folau by Qantas…

          • April 16th 2018 @ 5:23pm
            Objective said | April 16th 2018 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

            Facepalm….

            • April 16th 2018 @ 6:24pm
              JJJ said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

              This is so much better than talking about sport.

            • April 16th 2018 @ 6:26pm
              Dexter The Hamster said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:26pm | ! Report

              Funny that you call yourself “Objective”. You really should rename to “Subjective”. Christo has nailed it, and you respond like a 15 year old on snapchat….

              • April 17th 2018 @ 8:56am
                Objective said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

                Sorry Dexter, obviously no one can have a contrary point of view in your world.

              • April 18th 2018 @ 12:55am
                Johnny Dalmas said | April 18th 2018 @ 12:55am | ! Report

                Wrong. QANTAS have threatened to sanction the ARU unless Folau is sanctioned.
                Folau himself just offered his opinion about a matter of religious doctrine.
                World of difference between the two.

      • Roar Guru

        April 16th 2018 @ 3:38pm
        jeznez said | April 16th 2018 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

        The horror – IF got called into the principals offiice to be reminded what the school policies are. He agreed to go away and have a think about how and if he will comply with them down the track.

        My hope remains that he can learn to display a bit more compassion in the future.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 4:09pm
          Reverse Wheel said | April 16th 2018 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

          A lesson I think we could all learn.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 6:42pm
          Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:42pm | ! Report

          imgaine if a school principal hauled a boy into his/her office to reprimand him for his religious views.

          he’d lose his job on the spot

          • April 16th 2018 @ 6:48pm
            Torchbearer said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:48pm | ! Report

            Not if the boy was running around the playground saying all gays should burn in hell for eternity. The principal would be expected to act.

            • April 16th 2018 @ 7:23pm
              Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:23pm | ! Report

              in this case, the boy answered a question, when the antagonist already knew the answer and only asked it to case the trouble

              If folau was marching on canberra, or spouting hate speech then yes there would be a case to answer.

              he was discussingsomething entirely different, and then somebody asked a question relating to gods plan for gays, knowing full well the answer according to religious doctrine.

              thats the thing, unless you’ve lived undera rock all your life, you must know that is the view of many christians, and so they can have that belief so long as they don’t say it out loud when asked, is that what you’re saying. they should lie when asked?

              • April 16th 2018 @ 7:41pm
                Ruckin Oaf said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

                Yeah it’s the view of many Christians – but it ain’t the view of all of them. Heck considering some of the SSM votes held I’d say there are some places where it ain’t even the view of the majority of Christians.

                As to lying does Folau
                1) have an obligation to answer every question on social media
                2) have an inability to answer diplomatically

              • April 16th 2018 @ 7:47pm
                Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:47pm | ! Report

                1) according to the Australian human Rights Commision under article 18 he has the right to not only the ‘traditional’ religious beliefs of the major religions, but also non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief. The right recognised in Article 18 is simultaneously an individual right, and a collective right. It has both an ‘internal’ dimension (the freedom to adopt or hold a belief), and an ‘external’ dimension (the freedom to manifest that belief in worship, observance, practice or teaching)….. so if he wants to answer that question it is a basic human right of his to do so
                2) If i were him i would not have used the single word ‘hell’ other than that it was a diplomatic answer because it was the answer that whoever asked the question wanted.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 8:47pm
                Ruckin Oaf said | April 16th 2018 @ 8:47pm | ! Report

                “.. so if he wants to answer that question it is a basic human right of his to do so”

                And I guess if his religion said he should run naked down the main street on a Saturday he could do that to.

                Still doesn’t mean he’s obliged to does it.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 9:21pm
                Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:21pm | ! Report

                obligation is irrelevant

                he has the right to which is protected by his human rights

              • April 16th 2018 @ 9:55pm
                Ruckin Oaf said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:55pm | ! Report

                nope – ish

            • April 16th 2018 @ 9:04pm
              Pickett said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:04pm | ! Report

              Which is exactly what Folau did NOT say.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 7:40pm
          moaman said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

          jeznez
          I think Folau essentially doubled-down on his original comment when he trotted out the ‘persecution’ tweet.

        • April 17th 2018 @ 11:49am
          Steve said | April 17th 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

          After reading his article on “Players Voice” it appears that his comments were intended as compassionate in that he was providing guidance based on biblical texts. I expect that if he had a chance to do things differently he wouldn’t change a thing except offer a more long winded explanation of his point of view

    • Roar Guru

      April 16th 2018 @ 11:57am
      Nobrain said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:57am | ! Report

      Slavery is long gone. Everybody is to speak their mind regarding of who is picking up the tab. Are we all going to one way of thinking? People are smarter that many think and what Israel has said should not have a real impact on the way people behave . Public figures are giving far to much credit this days and getting overpaid . I judge Israel for what he does on the field and whatever he says that is not relate to rugby is not really important to me.

      • Roar Pro

        April 16th 2018 @ 12:15pm
        Andy Thompson said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

        ” I judge Israel for what he does on the field and whatever he says that is not relate to rugby is not really important to me”

        That’s just fine and dandy for you. My young lad loves his rugby and adores Folau. He’s only 10 but even he can see how those words can be hurtful to others. He wasn’t upset with what Folau has said, just disappointed. Imagine how hurtful Folau’s words would be to a young, gay rugby player though.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 12:25pm
          Fionn said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

          ‘I judge Israel for what he does on the field and whatever he says that is not relate to rugby is not really important to me.’

          Folau isn’t just a rugby player though, in the way that anyone else is. Despite the fact that Hooper is the captain of the Wallabies Folau is really the poster boy for the sport in Australia.

          • Roar Guru

            April 16th 2018 @ 12:34pm
            Nobrain said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

            So let them be what they are and do not ask them for more.

            • April 16th 2018 @ 12:38pm
              Fionn said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

              My heroes and idols are mostly not sporting players—guys like David Attenborough come to mind.

              But that is not the society we live in. I suspect it must be the same in Argentina where I expect football players especially are some of the most revered people in the country?

              • Roar Guru

                April 16th 2018 @ 1:00pm
                Nobrain said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

                Soccer players a soccer players. I admire the way they play but not the way they dress.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 1:09pm
                Fionn said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

                I’m not asking about you personally, I’m asking about broader Argentine society?

                By the way, is it ‘Argentine’ or ‘Argentinean’? Which is more correct?

              • Roar Guru

                April 16th 2018 @ 7:50pm
                Nobrain said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:50pm | ! Report

                Argentine

        • Roar Guru

          April 16th 2018 @ 12:28pm
          Nobrain said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

          IMO Israel is not responsible for the education of anybody. it is up to the parents to guide their kids and explain what ever you think about this situation. Otherwise you are giving the player to much credit or expecting to do your job as a parent.

          • Roar Pro

            April 16th 2018 @ 12:53pm
            Andy Thompson said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

            Of course he isn’t responsible for the education. This has nothing to do about education. Folau is an influencer. He has close to 500K followers on a variety of platforms and with that number of followers comes responsibility. Swap the word gay with African/Chinese/etc in “gay people will burn in hell” and see how far you get in life. As it is, my son is smart enough to understand that Folau is obviously as dumb as a box of hammers and has outdated views that are shunned by the majority of our society.

            • Roar Guru

              April 16th 2018 @ 12:57pm
              Nobrain said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

              I am glad Andy. So what is the problem then. IF is a great rugby player that says dumb things. So your kid is learning and understanding the way things work. It is great.

            • April 16th 2018 @ 7:43pm
              Ruckin Oaf said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:43pm | ! Report

              Hey Andy,

              That’s a good point and it shows to an extent the levels of discrimination that gay people still face.

              If Folau made racist comments there’d probably be no comeback for him. But as he just made some homophobic ones then there’s plenty of support for him.

            • April 18th 2018 @ 2:38pm
              Phil said | April 18th 2018 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

              Andy,I think your comment about Folau being dumb is rather unnecessary and I sincerely hope your son had the intelligence to just think for himself rather than just think Izzy was dumb.
              I also disagree with his views,but he has shown he is deeply committed to his religion,so why can’t he express his views?If someone in the game is Muslim,are we going to have this reaction about expressing views that most of us find absurd,including their treatment of homosexuality?
              I just think there has been a total over reaction to all this.

          • April 16th 2018 @ 1:18pm
            adam smith said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

            For a guy with supposedly “Nobrain”, you make an aweful lot of sense😉. Great comment, I agree completely.

        • Roar Guru

          April 16th 2018 @ 12:28pm
          Ralph said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

          “Imagine how hurtful Folau’s words would be to a young, gay rugby player though .”

          Imagine how hurtful the attacks on Folau, his beliefs, his church and young christians must be. There is offence everywhere if one chooses to reach for it. That’s the core of our PC culture, where only approved people are allowed to voice approved views and in the name of tolerance non approved views are not tolerated.

          • Roar Rookie

            April 16th 2018 @ 12:32pm
            piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

            Imagine how hurtful the attacks on Folau, his beliefs, his church and young christians must be

            Yes I can only imagine how hurtful it must be to be told hating a particular group of people is not acceptable.

            It’s a false equivalency to imagine that your right to persecute is just as protected as the persecuted’s right to not be persecuted.

            • Roar Guru

              April 16th 2018 @ 12:42pm
              Ralph said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

              This is hysterical, Folau didn’t persecute anyone and nor was he hateful.

              He just offered an opinion on what happens after death.

              Strident arguments to in that guise hold no water. Hate speech is illegal in Australia, how do you explain how he is not being prosecuted for anything he said?

              • Roar Rookie

                April 16th 2018 @ 12:45pm
                piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

                Say as you will, my point is attacking a group for being who they are isn’t acceptable, regardless of whether it crosses into hate speech territory legally or not.

                Your right to attack people does not trump their right not to be attacked.

                Is that better?

              • Roar Guru

                April 16th 2018 @ 12:51pm
                Ralph said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

                “attacking a group for being who they are isn’t acceptable”

                Given the level of attacks on Folau on this web site I do really wonder what you see when you look in the mirror.

                I simply turn your own comment back on you – your right to attack Folau does not trump his right not to be attacked.

                Even if you change the word attack to ‘consequences’ to justify what you are doing.

              • Roar Pro

                April 16th 2018 @ 12:54pm
                Andy Thompson said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

                Folau’s problem is that he’s rather dopey and was led into that answer by someone trying to goad him. He should have known better.

              • Roar Rookie

                April 16th 2018 @ 12:55pm
                piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

                You keep trying to turn this around Ralph but it won’t fly mate

                If I punch you in the head, I don’t then get to complain that you punched me back.

                I’m in the wrong – I don’t get to complain that I’m somehow now the victim because I got in trouble for punching you and and you didn’t get in trouble for punching back.

              • Roar Guru

                April 16th 2018 @ 12:57pm
                Ralph said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

                *Andy*, yes he should have been much more aware on what was going on. At the very least he was very naive.

                But on this site we seemingly make no allowance for the fact these sports people are all young and make mistakes.

              • Roar Rookie

                April 16th 2018 @ 1:00pm
                piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

                Agree that he was trapped by some punk on twitter, also agree that he probably didn’t mean anything malicious – but it is what it is, words to have meanings and consequences to them

              • Roar Guru

                April 16th 2018 @ 1:04pm
                Ralph said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

                I simply pointed out that if your own argument is true then it removes the justification for your own attacks on Folau.

                I would also suggest that in rugby it is very often the retaliation that is punished in the game more than the original offence. We call that niggle.

            • April 16th 2018 @ 12:50pm
              Reverse Wheel said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

              Piru, I have seen bucketloads of derogatory comments about Christianity and the dunderheads who believe it right here on these forums over the last two weeks. Nasty, aggressive, dismissive comments made against those of us who have made no public comment about homosexuality. My faith is no less a core part of me than a gay person’s sexuality. I find those comments hurtful and offensive. So why is it ok for others to attack my faith (and me indirectly) in this way? Folau said something so every other Christian is fair game? Kind of seems a little hypocritical to me.

              • Roar Rookie

                April 16th 2018 @ 1:14pm
                piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

                RW – with respect no one is complaining about him being a Christian

                They are complaining about him using his belief system to attack others.

                I don’t think either is right.

                There are organisations who require their staff to be people of a particular faith, this is apparently ok (though I’m not sure how, legally, but I digress).

                It’s not unreasonable for the organisation for whom Folau is a paid representative, to give guidelines and regulations as to how he represents them.
                Being a high profile rugby player is not all cross kicks and tries in the corner, fairly or unfairly.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 1:19pm
                Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

                piru who has he attacked?

                he stated a theological belief regarding the afterlife

              • April 16th 2018 @ 1:37pm
                Reverse Wheel said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

                Yeah I get that Piru but my point is less about the direct responses to Folau and more about how that has morphed into attacks on Christianity and Christians in general. You challenged Ralph’s assertion that Folau and other Christians may have been hurt. I would argue that many of the aggressive and nasty comments made right on these forums (let alone elsewhere) are no less hurtful to Christians than what Folau said to gay people. Yet it seems that all Christians are fair game.

                Just to be clear, I’m not saying it’s you that has been making these comments, I don’t think you have. But there have been plenty of others who have.

              • Roar Rookie

                April 16th 2018 @ 1:47pm
                piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

                You challenged Ralph’s assertion that Folau and other Christians may have been hurt.

                I did, but it was supposed to be taken sarcastically in that I don’t buy this “right to intolerance” idea that is becoming popular.

                Suffice to say there’s a lot of noise surrounding this issue, but I think it comes down to one thing (maybe over simplifying it as Ralph suggests).

                His employer has a public image, his comments run counter to it.

              • Roar Rookie

                April 16th 2018 @ 1:59pm
                Sage said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

                I have a lot of respect for a Christians faith RV. I always have, for reasons I won’t go into.
                I don’t doubt that your faith is very deeply held and precious. It is a decision of choice though, to believe or not to and to which particular religion you align yourself with. Being homosexual isn’t a choice and your core faith, the thing that makes you who you are isn’t a sin is it. If you were told you were going to hell for who you are to the core, it would probably be upsetting. Particularly if you were a bit younger, a bit more vulnerable. You are different to a lot of other guys your age. Guys who around you make gay jokes, call things “gay” meaning bad. Being terrified about how you will be treated when you do come out. A close friend of my daughters came out just after they’d completed their secondary schooling. His Mother slapped his face. His Father and his older brother stopped speaking to him. It was such an awful thing to see how it affected that poor young man. Now if you’re in that category at school and you love your Rugby, what you don’t need is someone like Issy confirming their is in fact something wrong with you. That it is a sin and you’re going to burn in hell for eternity because of how you were born.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 2:07pm
                DanFan said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

                Your reasoning seems somewhat flawed – and this is the problem with IF’s comments. Being gay is not a choice, being a christian is.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 4:21pm
                Reverse Wheel said | April 16th 2018 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

                Thanks for sharing Sage. I don’t deny that there is genuine pain in those kinds of situations and I personally would never single out gay people (or any other group) when talking about future judgement in the way Izzy did. Having said that, I’ve explained elsewhere and won’t repeat here that I believe he was careless rather than malicious in what he said.

                What I will challenge, both to you and DanFan, is your perception that my faith is a choice. That I could simply choose to drop it one day. I will say that I simply could never do that. I am thoroughly convinced that what I believe is true, and it is the core of who I am as a person. I belong to God and he will never let me go.

                I know that sounds weird and some will think me weak because I say that, but it is what it is. Others might walk away from their faith. It’s not for me to judge whether or not their faith was ever genuine. But I, and I know many people like me, simply cannot.

              • Roar Rookie

                April 17th 2018 @ 11:11am
                Sage said | April 17th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

                I understand exactly what you mean and for more reasons than you would imagine.
                However, whilst you’ve voiced your utter conviction for continuation, that you would never change what you feel (even though you do have a choice to do so), you initially made a choice to accept or not.

              • April 17th 2018 @ 12:59pm
                Akari said | April 17th 2018 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

                “Others might walk away from their faith. It’s not for me to judge whether or not their faith was ever genuine. But I, and I know many people like me, simply cannot.”

                You are a true, Sage (April 17th 2018 @ 11:11am), and thanks. No disrespect to the decision you have made, Reverse Wheel.

          • April 16th 2018 @ 1:51pm
            Tuc Du Nard said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

            I’m offended if you’re offended etc…infinitum.
            Wasn’t it just an abuse of power by IF? I realise he’s about as sharp as a bowling ball but he must have known it was going to bring him negative attention which is probably what he wants while he’s injured. He’s a victim of a hamstring injury and a public lashing. A victim.
            Nice position to be in pre negotiations? No ok he’s not that smart.

            • April 18th 2018 @ 2:45pm
              Phil said | April 18th 2018 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

              Do you know the guy,TDN?Maybe he is smarter than you think?Possibly even smarter than you.
              Another unnecessary attack on his intelligence.

          • April 16th 2018 @ 2:31pm
            Christo the Daddyo said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

            Except that Christians are taught to expect persecution (yep, it’s right there in the Bible) for their beliefs. Of course, two thousand years ago that usually meant you would be killed. In that context its a bit rich for today’s Christians to complain about some public criticism don’t you think?

            • April 16th 2018 @ 4:26pm
              Reverse Wheel said | April 16th 2018 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

              I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it tells us to enjoy persecution. We’re allowed to not like it.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 12:46pm
          me too said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

          So this hypothetical young gay isn’t aware of the christian view of gay sex? or isn’t aware folau was christian? would he be upset with the christian view? or upset that folau is a christian? or upset that christian’s are allowed to voice their views? Or that his parents and school never told him all of this? Would all young rugby players that aren’t christian be upset if Folau said that no one is going to heaven except through Jesus?
          Where does it stop? Should no views ever be expressed publicly if they are exclusive in any way?

          • Roar Rookie

            April 16th 2018 @ 12:49pm
            piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

            Should no views ever be expressed publicly if they are exclusive in any way?

            umm.. when the expressor is employed by an organisation which has made inclusion one of it’s tenets, then, no.

            This isn’t rocket science.

            • April 16th 2018 @ 1:19pm
              Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

              how has folau said anything about exclusion?

              • Roar Rookie

                April 16th 2018 @ 1:25pm
                piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

                Apparently Qantas and the ARU believe he has

              • April 16th 2018 @ 1:32pm
                Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

                the day sporting organisations and corporations are our moral compass….. its time to give up

              • Roar Rookie

                April 16th 2018 @ 1:37pm
                piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

                No one said they are the moral compass

                They built their brand as X

                Folau said Y

                Stop trying to complicate it

              • April 16th 2018 @ 2:04pm
                Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

                Qantas continue to fly to countries where being gay is a crime.

                excuse me for pointing the finger at utter hypocrisy and a witch hunt against an easy target in Folau.

              • Roar Rookie

                April 16th 2018 @ 2:19pm
                piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

                you’ve still refused to explain how an airline flying somewhere is hypocrisy

                I await your explanation

              • April 16th 2018 @ 7:35pm
                Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

                piru

                honestly

                you said it yourself they built heir brand as X

                yet they endorse Y by flying to places that reject X

                then they come out and publicly vilify Folau for stating Y

                stop trying to complicate it

              • April 16th 2018 @ 9:03pm
                BennO said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:03pm | ! Report

                Oh dear. So if qantas endorse homophobia by flying to homophobic places, do they also endorse tolerance by flying to places like Holland, Germany, UK, South Africa? You know places where gay marriage is legal, gay adoption too. Which is it?

                Seriously man, you are clutching at so many straws that you’ve drawn the longest bow in history to suggest they endorse the policies of everywhere they fly. It’s actually impossible anyway since they fly to so many places with conflicting values and legal contexts. What an absurd argument you’re trying to make.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 9:25pm
                Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:25pm | ! Report

                it is not clutching a straws

                if they are truly a moral compass as they seem to profess to be on the subject, than they should immediately stop flying to countries where gays are persecuted.

                if not they should shut up on moral, spiritual, ethical, political issues and just fly planes

              • Roar Rookie

                April 17th 2018 @ 11:14am
                Sage said | April 17th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

                Yeah it is and you’ve been doing it for a few days now.

                “The less people know the more stubbornly they know it”

                Osho

              • April 17th 2018 @ 5:36pm
                Jacko said | April 17th 2018 @ 5:36pm | ! Report

                benno they are not just flying to these countries….They now have legal binding contracts with the Airlines from these countries and are choosing to do business with a group that actively supports anti gay attitudes.Surely that is far worse than having a player in a sports team they sponsor say a personal view….

        • April 16th 2018 @ 1:52pm
          Perthstayer said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

          Andy

          how have you found explaining Muslim beliefs re homosexuality to your kid? Or are you, like many, avoiding the issue until it makes the front page?

          • Roar Pro

            April 16th 2018 @ 2:45pm
            Andy Thompson said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

            Folau isn’t muslim. I have no idea why you’d bring that into this conversation unless you have some sort of underlying agenda. If one of his sporting idols was muslim and said the same stuff, then yes. I’d have that chat. He already thinks that anyone who thinks less of a person because of their sexuality is a bit of an idiot.

            • April 17th 2018 @ 5:38pm
              Jacko said | April 17th 2018 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

              Qantas has alliences with Muslim countries. Signed contracts with countries who actively promote anti gay attitudes

        • April 17th 2018 @ 1:31pm
          Christine said | April 17th 2018 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

          Andy,this is a perfect example to teach children about freedom of speech, my children are Christian, imagine all they saw and had to deal with in differing and antagonism to their beliefs and lifestyle. My stock answer was always ” that’s what others believe and this is what we believe” it took a while for them not to be hurt by anti Christian comments but they grew up with a better understanding of what makes up human nature

    • April 16th 2018 @ 12:05pm
      Jacko said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

      oh dear….We all now know that we are all allowed to express our opinions freely….but only if they agree with the PC view….

      • April 16th 2018 @ 2:06pm
        664 neighbour of the beast said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

        Yeah..and my opinion is Falou is a goose for his beliefs…seems you cant comprehend that freedom of speech works both ways…therefore if there is anyone being “pc”…..it’s you princess.

        • April 17th 2018 @ 5:40pm
          Jacko said | April 17th 2018 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

          Goose read my post again when sober…Or are you totally stupid all the time

      • April 17th 2018 @ 6:58am
        i miss the force said | April 17th 2018 @ 6:58am | ! Report

        grat to have you back Jacko, said no one ever

    • April 16th 2018 @ 12:06pm
      Morsie said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

      I rate myself as a devout atheist. Folau is PERFECTLY entitled to his opinion and to express it. I am just so sick of this “I am so offended” program that is a narcissistic reaction – “look at me everybody I’m offended”. We need a big shipment of HTFU pills. Are our own beliefs so weak that when someone starts using quotes from the bible or the koran that we can’t just say, “You believe that nonsense, that’s your problem, don’t put it on me because I think its a load of rubbish and from my view of the world it makes you look like an idiot”.

      • Roar Guru

        April 16th 2018 @ 1:06pm
        Mango Jack said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

        Make sure you save some of those pills for Folau. Apparently he believes he is being persecuted for his comments.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 1:20pm
          Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

          he is

          • April 16th 2018 @ 2:32pm
            Christo the Daddyo said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

            How?

            • April 16th 2018 @ 3:40pm
              Andrew Kennett said | April 16th 2018 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

              IF was called in by the Rugby CEO to answer (PC word is explain) for his crimes — this is clearly persecution

              • Roar Guru

                April 16th 2018 @ 3:53pm
                jeznez said | April 16th 2018 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

                Being told to go and have a think – the horror!

              • April 16th 2018 @ 4:08pm
                Christo the Daddyo said | April 16th 2018 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

                LOL – not even close!

              • April 16th 2018 @ 7:15pm
                Ben said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:15pm | ! Report

                I’m 100% with IF. People need to grow up. “Sticks and stones…” yeah.

                One thing that amazes me is that Qantas are willing to take people’s money, for them to holiday, and feed the economy of countries where gays are treated as criminals. They are also willing to be businesses partners with Emirate Airlines, the host airline for one of the mentioned countries.

                Then flip the coin, and they’re threatening to withdraw their money because a christian cited something from a book about gays…

                So it turns out that if Qantas make millions of dollars from someone, they really don’t care how gays are treated. Than if they give it, they are all of a suddenly the thought police.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 7:55pm
                Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:55pm | ! Report

                jeznez that is a big deal

                it is a violation of his human rights to be hauled in and told to think about it.

                Employers have no right to do what they did

                zero involvement from RA and their sponsors is appropriate because he is entitled to his freedom of religion

              • April 16th 2018 @ 9:08pm
                BennO said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:08pm | ! Report

                “Employers have no right to do what they did”

                Of course they do. If you damage the brand of your employer and reduce its value by your public actions and words… They have the right to do lots of things, like sack you.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 8:54pm
                Ruckin Oaf said | April 16th 2018 @ 8:54pm | ! Report

                “Employers have no right to do what they did”

                I’m pretty sure that other people have been sacked for comments on social media.

                I’m absolutely sure that my employer has a policy on internet use / social media etc.

                I’m sure that if i’m caught breaching that policy I’ll be accountable.

                I’m not sure that your re-write of workplace law has any basis to it.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 9:27pm
                Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:27pm | ! Report

                no one has ever been fired for expressing their religious views

                it would be against their human rights

              • April 16th 2018 @ 9:43pm
                Ruckin Oaf said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

                Right so if you make any comment, no matter how inflammatory, as long as you say “that’s my religious view” you’ll be fine.

                Gee I wonder why people haven’t been using this defence before today.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 10:33pm
                Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:33pm | ! Report

                RO

                if only there was say a ‘book’ to refer to outline and justify ones religious beliefs…

                hmm, yes lets call i the ‘good book’…. aka the bible!

              • April 17th 2018 @ 6:04am
                Ruckin Oaf said | April 17th 2018 @ 6:04am | ! Report

                Hey RTT,

                Well assuming there’s only one religion, and only one book.

                That’s one heck of an assumption.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 1:53pm
          Perthstayer said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

          He is

          • Roar Guru

            April 16th 2018 @ 7:48pm
            Mango Jack said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:48pm | ! Report

            In what way? He was asked by his employer to think about the wider implications of making public statements such as the ones he made. He has copped a lot of criticism, but that is hardly surprising or unwarranted, considering he said he believes a section of society will burn eternally for being the way they were born.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 2:00pm
          Morsie said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

          Isn’t he?

      • April 17th 2018 @ 1:36pm
        Christine said | April 17th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

        Pleased to meet you Morsie, you and I would get on just fine even though our beliefs are either end of the spectrum, but our respect is on point
        Cheers

    • April 16th 2018 @ 12:11pm
      Malo said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

      Alan Joyce is a hypocrite and I won’t fly QANTAS has outsourced its aust labour force at the safety of its passengers. It is only time before qantas has a crash due to this idiot Joyce. Concentrate on safety than hypocrisy

      • April 16th 2018 @ 1:21pm
        Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

        as far as i know Qantas are also still flying to regions where being gay is a criminal offence

        hypocrisy!

        • Roar Rookie

          April 16th 2018 @ 1:58pm
          piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

          That’s not hypocrisy – they are an airline

          If I take a taxi to a church is my muslim driver a hypocrite?

          • April 16th 2018 @ 2:06pm
            Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

            yes they are an airline

            exactly

            they should have zero involvement in this

            • Roar Rookie

              April 16th 2018 @ 2:09pm
              piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

              So they should just pay the money and shut up

              I can see you’re experienced in obtaining and holding sponsors!

              • April 16th 2018 @ 6:45pm
                Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:45pm | ! Report

                yes

                its called human rights

              • April 17th 2018 @ 5:43pm
                Jacko said | April 17th 2018 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

                piru how can they hold an individual to account for having a personal view but sign contracts with companies that have that same view and not be hypocrites?

            • April 17th 2018 @ 7:00am
              i miss the force said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:00am | ! Report

              you and your “human rights” need to read a book occasionally Rugby Tragic Too, if you can

          • April 16th 2018 @ 4:08pm
            MH01 said | April 16th 2018 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

            Call your Muslim taxi driver and tell him to pick you up from the grocery store, saying you have Pork and alcohol and drop you off at a gay fundraiser – at this point you will get an answer of they are true to their beliefs or a hypocrite, where money comes first .

            It seems very clear why Qantas, such a vocal champion of inclusivity and diversity etc at the moment , does not say a peep in the Middle East, as not to offend ….. and impact thier $$$$. If a religious person chooses thier answers to best suit them, they are a hypocrite. Least Folau is true to his faith / word, while Qantas are plain hypocrites – just like apple. Fine have a go at Folau if words offend, people have a right to also question Qantas and thier morale high ground as the perception the rhetoric only applies to western democratic countries …..

            • Roar Rookie

              April 16th 2018 @ 4:13pm
              piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

              Call your Muslim taxi driver and tell him to pick you up from the grocery store, saying you have Pork and alcohol and drop you off at a gay fundraiser – at this point you will get an answer of they are true to their beliefs or a hypocrite, where money comes first .

              You’re not serious

              Oh you are. oh dear.

              If a religious person chooses thier answers to best suit them, they are a hypocrite. Least Folau is true to his faith / word, while Qantas are plain hypocrites – just like apple.

              Folau continued to play Rugby and collect a pay cheque throughout the gay marriage plebiscite, despite knowing he represented an organisation which ran counter to his beliefs

              By your standards he is a hypocrite then.

              Why are you defending a hypocrite? The only right thing to do would have been to resign from rugby, otherwise he’s ‘a religious person who chooses his answer to best suit him’.

              Explain how this is different?

              • April 16th 2018 @ 10:39pm
                Rugby Tragic Too said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:39pm | ! Report

                Folau has human rights as outline by artcile 18 in the Australian Human Rights Commision

                he is free to pursue a spiritual life

                atthe same time he is also free to stay in employment and play rugby

                there is no contradiction/conflict in both of these pursuits particularly whe Rugby Austarlia have categorically stated tey are in inclusive organisation.

                Folau has not called for the exclusion of anyone. In gact he was an amabassdor for the Bingham cup, a gay rugby tournament. Believing everyone snawers to a supreme being in athe afterlife does not conflict with anything on this earth

              • Roar Rookie

                April 18th 2018 @ 6:19pm
                piru said | April 18th 2018 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

                So you agree he’s a hypocrite as MH01 presumably does?

      • April 16th 2018 @ 2:34pm
        Christo the Daddyo said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

        a) Exactly how is Joyce a hypocrite?
        b) Please prove it is “only a matter of time before qantas has a crash due to this idiot Joyce”?

        • April 16th 2018 @ 7:22pm
          Malo said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:22pm | ! Report

          Watch the news

          • April 17th 2018 @ 7:01am
            i miss the force said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:01am | ! Report

            fox news for you?

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