Israel Folau to be sacked by Rugby Australia over anti-gay post
Australia fullback Israel Folau is set to have his contract terminated after posting an anti-gay slur on social media, Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Waratahs have confirmed.
Folau, who has 73 caps for the Wallabies, posted a meme to his Instagram account on Wednesday "warning" that "hell awaits" homosexuals if they did not "repent".
Alongside the photo, the 30-year-old added the caption: "Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him" followed by a trio bible verses.
As a result of the post, Rugby Australia and New South Wales released a statement saying they had been unable to contact Folau and that his contract will be terminated unless he can prove there were "mitigating factors".
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," the chief executives of both bodies said in a statement on Thursday.
"We want to make it clear that he does not speak for the game with his recent social media posts."
The statement continued: "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."
Folau made similar comments on social media last year but signed a new deal through 2022 with Rugby Australia in February.
The devout Christian believer, considered one of rugby's most talented players, posted on Instagram last April that gays would go to hell.
The incident came six months after tweeting his opposition to same-sex marriage and led to criticism from Australian rugby chief Raelene Castle, who said he was "walking the line".
“In my career, this is the singularly most difficult thing I’ve ever had to deal with,” Castle said. “And that’s because there is no black and white answer."
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