Rugby player Israel Folau sacked over homophobic social media posts

Rugby player Israel Folau sacked over homophobic social media posts

Rugby player Israel Folau has had his contracted terminated over social media posts

Friday, May 17, 2019

Israel Folau has had his contract terminated by Rugby Australia over homophobic social media posts.

Folau's £2.15million, four-year deal has been ripped up after an independent panel on Friday backed RA's position that the comments he made on April 10 warranted his sacking rather than a fine or suspension.

The 30-year-old Christian said on his Instagram account that "hell awaits" for "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolaters" in a post that remains visible.

Folau has 72 hours to appeal against the outcome, but a report in Australia suggests he will pursue a different route by taking RA to the Supreme Court.

In a statement released after the panel gave its approval of his sacking by RA, Folau said: "It has been a privilege and an honour to represent Australia and my home state of New South Wales, playing the game I love.

"I am deeply saddened by today's decision to terminate my employment and I am considering my options.

"As Australians, we are born with certain rights, including the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of expressions.

"The Christian faith has always been part of my life and I believe it is my duty as a Christian to share God's words.

"Upholding my religious beliefs should not prevent my ability to work or play for my club and country.

"Thank you also to those who have spoken out in my defence, some of whom do not share my beliefs but have defended my right to express them."

Folau had previously been warned over making homophobic comments on social media in 2018 but did not face disciplinary action at the time.

RA chief executive Raelene Castle revealed the verdict of the independent hearing at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

"We are here to announce that Israel Folau has today been issued a sanction directing termination of his playing contract for his high-level breach of the professional players' code of conduct," Castle said.

"Rugby Australia did not choose to be in the situation, but Rugby Australia's position remains that Israel, through his actions, left us with no choice but to pursue the course of action resulting in today's outcome."

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