Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby have released a joint statement confirming their intent to sack controversial player Israel Folau after another homophobic social media post earlier this week.
Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle confirmed on behalf of the two organisations in the statement that “it is our intention to terminate his contract.”
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Folau’s Instagram post on Wednesday claimed to be a warning to homosexuals – as well as other groups – that “hell awaits”.
Folau also tweeted criticism for the Tasmanian government’s decision to make gender optional on birth certificates, stating “The devil has blinded so many people in this world, REPENT and turn away from your evil ways.”
The incident is the latest in a series of homophobic outbursts from the Waratah and Wallaby full back, dating back to the 2017 same-sex marriage referendum.
Castle said that both Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby had made repeated attempts to contact Folau and his management since the post was made, to no response.
“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,” said Castle.
“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.”