Israel Folau’s latest Instagram post garnered much controversy and outrage, leading Rugby Australia to handle him a breach notice in where they intend to terminate his four-year, $4-million contract.
His possible termination had some thinking he may come back to the NRL. However, this was quickly slammed shut by ARL Commissioner Peter Beattie.
The Instagram post in question said; “Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists and Idolaters: Hell awaits. Repent, Jesus Saves”.
The crux of the post was those who commit sin must repent or will go to Hell.
I struggle to see how this is in any way comparable to testing positive for cocaine (Ben Barba, Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor), trafficking steroids overseas (Sandor Earl), punching a man in the face knocking him on floor and then punching him several times on the ground defenceless causing fractures in his face (Russell Packer) or engaging in a gang-related brawl where someone was left badly injured (Manu Ma’u).
Or, in the case of Matthew Lodge, threatening two women by saying “this was the night you will die”, then proceeding to force himself into the apartment the girls were in, headlocking and punching a man trying to stop him from harassing the girls, before smashing furniture in a malevolent rampage.
Or, in the matter of Blake Ferguson, where he was found guiltily of groping a woman without her consent.
These above-mentioned acts even led to jail time for some, but all were welcomed back in the NRL. All of those were criminal offences, while Folau – who committed no crime just merely expressing his religious views – is treated worse then those who committed crimes.
Since we’re on the topic of Instagram, remember Josh Dugan telling a fan to “end himself”?
Freedom of religion is a right under article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. So is Freedom of Speech.
Folau in his post wasn’t not singling out homosexuals in his post but all types of sinners. This isn’t a new concept manufactured for now, but a belief core in the edifice of Christianity for thousands of years. So no-one should be surprised when a devout Christian believes in this.
It is startling that exercising key rights like freedom of speech and religion generates enough vitriol and forbids from playing in the NRL, while people who commit criminal acts are welcomed back.