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A tale of two disasters

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Roar Pro
18th May, 2019
1227 Reads

The careers of two footballers were derailed yesterday. Israel Folau’s $4 million contract was torn up and Jack de Belin failed in his attempt to overturn the NRL stand-down ban.

The legal fees in both cases were crippling and have to be paid by the players.

My original opinions that both actions were misconceived were proven right, and although there are further legal options available to both players, I don’t think the odds are in their favour. Further financial damage is guaranteed.

Let’s talk about both cases.

Israel Folau
This is another example of how the law and religious beliefs do not mix. The guy is a true believer and I am sure other people of his persuasion feel obliged to tell the world that according to the scriptures our civilisation is on the way to rack and ruin. I get that and hear it from the Jehovah’s Witnesses who knock on my door.

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But here’s the catch: having signed a $4 million contract with the Rugby Australia, who advised him the following:

  1. To tell us via social media that unless we repent our sins, hell will await us?
  2. To leave Rugby Australia with no alternative but to try to mollify its sponsors by taking action against him?
  3. To keep telling us this is freedom of speech and not a contract problem?
  4. To pay a ridiculous amount in legal fees in a fruitless attempt to have the code of conduct decision overturned?

If he did this off his own bat, he made a huge mistake. If he received advice and acted upon it, he should change his advisers. They will destroy what is left of his career and his financial future.

The whole appeal was misconceived and had no chance.

Advice: take the punishment, shut up and try to continue your sporting career elsewhere.

Israel Folau

Israel Folau (Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Jack de Belin
Israel Folau’s excuse was his faith calling on him tell the world they must repent or else. Jack had no excuse. He was charged with a terrible crime and rightly or wrongly the rugby league community thought something must be done.


The NRL responded by passing a rule standing him down on full pay until his trial in about 12 months.

What loss did he suffer? His advisers tried to tell the Federal Court that his reputation has suffered by the stand down. This is correct, but he is subject to a terrible charge. Surely that affected his reputation more.

The NRL had to do something to tell their stakeholders they have the interests of the game at heart, so they decided that they wouldn’t let Jack play while he is awaiting his trial. Their argument is reasonable. Jack’s argument is as weak as water.

He lost and had to pay the other side’s legal costs as well.

Again, I need to ask: did these proceedings have a more than a 50 per cent chance of succeeding? My feeling is no given there was a pending charge and he was still being paid.

So many hundreds of thousands of dollars later and where is Jack? He’s in the same place as he was at the start.

Advice: pay the lawyers and start preparing for your criminal trial.