Folau's beliefs cause a stir

Thu, 05 Apr 2018 08:12
Large israel folau wallabies v all blacks 2017 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Wallabies star Israel Folau was summoned to a meeting with Australian rugby chiefs over his use of social media after sparking a backlash by saying gay people were destined to go to hell.

Folau, a three-time Australian player of the year, made the comment this week to an Instagram follower who asked him what was "God's plan for gay people?"

"HELL.. Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God," he replied.

The remark appears to breach Rugby Australia's inclusion policy designed to stamp out discrimination and homophobia in the game, and chief executive Raelene Castle distanced the governing body from Folau's views.

She said Folau would meet with her and Andrew Hore, chief executive of his club NSW Waratahs, "to discuss his use of social media"

"Israel's comment reflects his personal religious beliefs, however, it does not represent the view of Rugby Australia or NSW Rugby," Castle said in a statement.

"We are aligned in our view that rugby is a game for all, regardless of sexuality, race, religion or gender, which is clearly articulated in rugby's inclusion policy.

"We understand that Israel's comment has upset a number of people and we will discuss the matter with him as soon as possible."

Sydney's first gay and inclusive rugby club, the Convicts, said it was disappointed in the Australian fullback.

"Disappointing to see these comments from Israel but his statements do not reflect Rugby Union's attitude to gay people," it tweeted.

"@qantaswallabies @NSWWaratahs @pocockdavid and more are all allies of ours and our community" it added, referring to Australia's national rugby union team, the New South Wales Waratahs club team, and the Wallabies star and anti-homophobia campaigner David Pocock.

Twitter users rounded on Folau, slamming him for "promoting hatred".

"It disturbs me how people in this day and age can still harbour such narrow-minded views, sad really," wrote Paul Walker, while John Vasek said: "What a fool. Continuing to promote hatred. Fundamentalist Christian imbeciles."

It is not the first time Folau has sparked criticism for his views on gay people. He tweeted his opposition to same-sex marriage last year ahead of Australia legalising such unions.

One of the key proponents of same-sex marriage was Qantas Airways chief Alan Joyce.

The airline is a key sponsor of the Wallabies and it also came in for criticism Thursday.

"As a major sponsor for the Wallabies are you ok with @IzzyFolau homophobic outburst?," tweeted one person, while another suggested the carrier should drop its sponsorship of the team.

Agence France-Presse

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 87 4 0 4 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Blues 8 2 0 6 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 16
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14