Words: Steve Brown
Israel Folau admitted his homophobic Instagram posts breached rugby’s code of conduct five months ago, Rugby Australia reported.
The devout Christian was fired by the rugby body after posting on social media that all gay people will go to hell if they do not repent.
But Folau is suing RA and the NSW Waratahs for unlawful dismissal and claims that he was fired because of his religion, SBS reported.
And now, according to court documents, the rugby star – who was one of the highest paid Australian players – offered to walk away from the sport back in April 2018 for posting similar anti-LGBTQ posts.
RA and the Waratahs filed their defences this week revealing Folau had conceded before a league tribunal in May that his posts had breached the sport’s code of conduct and he knew the posts had the potential to offend the LGBTQ community.
It was after he refused to remove the posts that the tribunal were forced to terminate his contract, RA claims.
But Folau is now saying his posts did not breach the code and says his sacking was based on his religion.
However, the RA rejects his claims saying the player’s faith have always been supported but insisted that as long as ‘these were done in a respectful and inclusive manner’.
"Rugby Australia's objection to the posts at issue was not their religious content but rather their tone and attributes," the defence says.
On Wednesday (September 25), the Waratahs also filed their defence saying they were concerned that Folau continued to ‘assert an entitlement to express homophobic views’ on social media.
Despite being fired, Folau is still able to play with other clubs and has a bid to play for Tonga – a country renowned for being homophobic.