Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Headlines

Folau handed sack notice over anti-gay comments

Australia fullback Israel Folau has sparked uproar with homophobic comments on social media. © AFP/File / WILLIAM WEST

SYDNEY, Australia, Apr 15 Israel Folau’s career was hanging by a thread Monday as the star Wallabies fullback was given 48 hours to respond to a code of conduct breach notice or be sacked over anti-gay comments.

The deeply religious 30-year-old sparked uproar last week for a social media post saying “Hell awaits” homosexuals, with national team sponsor Qantas among those complaining.

He was embroiled in a similar row last year, but has stood by his comments and said he was prepared to choose his faith over rugby.

Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle moved to sack him, saying he had been repeatedly warned about his social media use but ignored the overtures and refused to apologise at a meeting on Friday.

As such, his actions were considered “a high-level breach” of the Professional Players’ Code of Conduct which she said warranted termination of his employment contract.

He has 48 hours to either accept the sanction or have the matter referred to a hearing. Folau has indicated he plans to fight to save his career.

“At its core, this is an issue of the responsibilities an employee owes to their employer and the commitments they make to their employer to abide by their employer’s policies and procedures and adhere to their employer’s values,” said Castle.

“Following the events of last year, Israel was warned formally and repeatedly about the expectations of him as player for the Wallabies and NSW Waratahs with regards to social media use and he has failed to meet those obligations.

“It was made clear to him that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

If Folau opts for a code of conduct hearing, an independent three-person tribunal would hear the case and determine whether he has made a breach and, if so, what punishment is appropriate.

Folau posted a banner on Instagram last week that read: “Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators — Hell awaits you.”

It remains online and has attracted almost 40,000 likes.

– Folau ‘disrespectful’ –

Meanwhile, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said Folau’s actions were “disrespectful” and made it unlikely he could add to his 73 Wallabies caps.

“We had a discussion after the last time and made it pretty clear about his right to believe and our support in that, if that’s what he wants, to be part of the team,” Cheika told reporters.

“But getting it out in that disrespectful manner publicly is not what our team is about.

“When you play in the gold jersey we represent everyone in Australia, everyone. Everyone that is out there supporting us, we don’t pick and choose.”

When asked whether he would select Folau again, Cheika, who fronted the media alongside Wallabies captain Michael Hooper and NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson, said it was highly unlikely.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“I think as it stands right now… you wouldn’t be able,” Cheika said.

Neither Cheika nor Gibson have spoken to Folau, but Hooper said he had exchanged a brief text message with his Waratahs and Wallabies team-mate.

Asked if he would still be comfortable taking the field alongside him, Hooper replied: “Like was said before, in this current state and being here and talking about this as a rugby player, it makes it hard, it makes it difficult.”

“It’s hard being here, we’re rugby players for sure, we are trying to create the best team environment we possibly can and at national level,” he added.

On Sunday Folau, Super Rugby’s record try-scorer, told the Sydney Morning Herald he was ready for life without rugby, saying, “I live for God now”.

“Whatever His will is, whether that’s to continue playing or not, I’m more than happy to do what He wants me to do,” Folau said.

Click to comment
Advertisement

More on Capital Sports

Football

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – There is light at the end of the tunnel. After failed promises over the last three years since its...

Athletics

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8 – Olympic Champion Caster Semenya and wife Violet Raseboya have hinted that they might be expecting a baby in a...

Features

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – The Kakamega High School ‘Green Commandos’ have produced a plethora of talent over the past decades in Kenyan football...

NFL

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Kenya’s history making Daniel Adongo, the first Kenyan to play in America’s National Football League (NFL), is now living...

© 2020 Capital Digital Media. Capital Group Limited. All Rights Reserved