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The conundrum facing Raelene Castle and Rugby AU over Israel Folau’s repeated comments about gay marriage is complex to say the least.
For Folau to use social media as a platform to express his controversial views raises a number of questions. On the one hand is Folau’s right to have freedom of speech, but on the other hand he is being disrespectful and inconsiderate over such a sensitive issue.
You would have thought that all rugby union players employed by Rugby AU would have certain constraints placed on them on what they are and aren’t allowed to discuss on social media, but it would appear that they don’t.
The tweets sent by Folau have been inflammatory and could be construed by some as inciting hatred towards the gay community. He has been accused of as much. So why Castle and Rugby AU haven’t come out yet and censured or sanctioned Folau is a mystery. It is showing a clear lack of leadership.
I have a huge amount of respect for Folau as he has played at the highest level in not just one, but three sports: rugby league, rugby union and AFL. He has represented the Kangaroos and Wallabies with distinction. This is rare, with only Folau and Karmichael Hunt having achieved the honour this decade.
Folau understandably has deep religious views and beliefs which he is fully entitled to, but as a high-profile professional sportsman it is hard to comprehend why he insists on using his Twitter account to express them. Why does he feel the need to endorse beliefs of certain religious figures in the public domain, when there’s a better time and place to do that?
At the end of the day religion and sport don’t mix well, they never have and they never will, so the sooner that Folau realises that the better.