Words: Will Stroude
Israel Folau is to be sacked by Rugby Australia following his latest anti-LGBT outbursts on social media, in a move which would rule him out of this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Rugby Australia Chief Executive Raelene Castle announced on Thursday (11 April) that the sport's governing body intended to sack the 30-year-old sportsman after he failed to respond to their attempts to contact him.
Folau, an evangelical Christian who has 73 caps with the Australian national squad, received a warning from Rugby Australia last year over homophobic and transphobic posts shared on social media.
The New South Wales Waratahs player resumed his campaign of hatred against the LGBTQ community on Wednesday after sharing a post on Instagram which said "hell awaits" gay people.
He also reponded to the news that Tasmania has become the first Australian jurisdiction to make gender optional on birth certificates by insisting on Twitter that people "repent" for their "evil ways".
A statement issued by RA chief executive Raelene Castle and NSW Rugby Union CEO Andrew Hore on Thursday said: “Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Rugby Union have made repeated attempts to contact Israel both directly and via his representatives since 6.30pm on Wednesday, and at this point he had failed to communicate directly with either organisation.
“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. We want to make is clear that he does not speak for the game with his recent social media posts.
“Israel has failed to understand that the expectation of him as a Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs employee is that he cannot share material on social media that condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality.
“Rugby is a sport that continuously works to unite people. We want everyone to feel safe and welcome in our game and no vilification based on race, gender, religion or sexuality is acceptable and no language that isolates, divides or insults people based on any of those factors can be tolerated.
“As a code we have made it clear to Israel formally and repeatedly that and 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.”
Well Israel, looks like if hell is what awaits us, what awaits you is obscurity...