Stand by for cries of ‘persecution’ as Folau’s contract is terminated

Stand by for cries of ‘persecution’ as Folau’s contract is terminated May 17, 2019

WHILE Pride in Sport Index (PSI) – a programme in Australia set up to help sporting organisations with the inclusion of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community – has welcomed today’s news that top rugby player Israel Folau’s contract has been terminated because of his homophobia, Christians will no doubt be screeching ‘persecution!’

But PSI co-founder Andrew Purchas reacted by saying:

We commend Rugby Australia, as well as New South Wales Rugby Union, for their leadership and courage throughout this process. Their swift and decisive actions shows that homophobic and transphobic discrimination is not acceptable in sport and individuals – irrespective of their social or professional stature – will be held accountable for their words and actions.

The Pentacostal full-back, 30, was sacked in April but requested a hearing, which was conductd by a three-person panel that found him guilty of a “high level breach” of RA’s player code of conduct and upheld the dismissal.

Folau, who had a RA deal until 2022, has 72 hours to appeal against the ruling and is considering his options.

An appeal would mean a second code of conduct hearing with the same evidence but a new panel, while he could also try to take his case to Australia’s Supreme Court.

New South Wales Waratahs’ Folau, who escaped punishment for similar comments last year, said in a statement he was “deeply saddened” by RA’s decision.

It has been a privilege and an honour to represent Australia and my home state of New South Wales, playing the game I love. As Australians, we are born with certain rights, including the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of expression.

The Christian faith has always been a part of my life and I believe it is my duty as a Christian to share God’s word. Upholding my religious beliefs should not prevent my ability to work or play for my club and country.

RA Chief Executive Raelene CastleFolau said:

This outcome is a painful situation for the game. 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.

This issue has created an unwanted distraction in an important year for the sport and for the Wallabies team. But our clear message for all rugby fans is that we need to stand by our values and the qualities of inclusion, passion, integrity, discipline, respect and teamwork.

Folau  has recently lost sponsorship deals with Land Rover, who withdrew a car issued to him, and sportswear brand Asics.

Screenshot

Two years ago, Purhas, above, founder of Australia’s first gay rugby union club, the Sydney Convicts, was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for:

Service to rugby union and to the promotion of social inclusion for LGBTI people.

Purchas was instrumental in bringing the Bingham Cup to Sydney in 2014 and has been the driving force behind a number of anti-homophobia and inclusion initiatives in sport.

 While thrilled to receive the honour, he said there was still much to be done.

This represents the contribution of a large number of people in working towards equality in sport regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite significant social advances in the recognition of rights of gay and transgendered people, discrimination in sport continues to be both common and damaging.

Without pro-active initiatives, at all levels of sport, this discrimination will continue to have a very negative impact on the ability for LGBT people to enjoy the many benefits that sports offer.

Purchas is also chairman of International Gay Rugby and has been on its executive for the past 12 years.

Three gay rugby clubs now operate in Australia, with the Brisbane Hustlers and the Melbourne Chargers joining the Convicts.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Broga

    ” it is my duty as a Christian to share God’s word. ”

    That statement does not bear examination but, as usual, it is intended to sound self sacrificing, noble and submissive to the word of God in a cruel word.

  • Thanks4AllTheFish

    “The Christian faith has always been a part of my life and I believe it is my duty as a Christian to share God’s word. Upholding my religious beliefs should not prevent my ability to work or play for my club and country.”
    – Waratahs’ Folau

    I find your faithfulness to your religion admirable. I assume you also embrace those verses in your Holy Book that declare eating shellfish, wearing clothes of mixed fabrics, etc with the same fervor of faith. Your Holy Book is very specific with regards to misbehavior from wives and children and I do hope you properly punish them according to Scripture.

    I would guess that being a devout Christian is very difficult, yet really rewarding. It is difficult because there are so many rules and commandments that must be strictly adhered to in order to be seen worthy of God’s love and grace. I trust you obey them all with unwavering devotion rather than picking and choosing those that conveniently present you as more pious in a pluralistic society. The immediate rewards, after all, are acceptance by those with similar proclivities, extensive public exposure of your Iron-Age theism, a scapegoat for your beliefs in the face of their outright bigotry, and an opportunity to be seen as persecuted – a Christian rite of passage. The long-term rewards are of course, whatever you believe comes after dying. Let us know how that turns out.

  • Cali Ron

    And our duty to point out that he’s delusional.

  • Jim Jones

    He seems to have missed the bits about his haircut and beard shape.

  • TheBookOfDavid

    It has been a privilege and an honour to represent Australia and my home state of New South Wales

    Folau’s inflammatory remarks would have been much less problematic if he had chosen to represent himself. Instead, he chose to drag his team, athletic league, and corporate sponsors into the debate by launching his tirade in Wallabies colors, implicating their endorsement of his bigoted statements. They can’t just shake their heads and chuckle over players behaving badly off the field at this point, or pretend it didn’t happen. There are probably explicit prohibitions against such unprofessional conduct in his contract.

  • TrickyDicky

    I would think his list of those destine for hell covers about 90% of the population of Australia.

  • barriejohn

    That’s the whole point; he has a right to free speech, and to believe whatever he wishes, but when you join a club (any club) you have to abide by the rules. If he didn’t read the rules that’s his problem.

  • barriejohn

    And the ban on tattoos, as pointed out by someone on the previous thread!

  • barriejohn

    A notice very similar to this one was featured on the previous site. I’d get rid of all but “Prosperity Preachers”, myself. Hell is hardly a fitting punishment for them!

    https://metrouk2.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/ad_200665097.jpg

  • Broga

    Right. You took the words right off my lap top keys.

  • Broga

    At a conservative estimate.

  • Broga

    Brilliant. What is an “immodest woman”? I would like to get a copy of that and pin it up. It is so funny. Not quite the effect intended.

  • TrickyDicky

    I see idolaters are given a free pass, the list must have been written by someone with catholic tendencies.

  • rubaxter

    If he’s good enough, some sleazy football management, well, really just football management will pick him up and make excuses like “we think we can rebuild/reform/help him on his journey to healing”.

    Otherwise, welcome to double glazing retail or used-car previously owned vehicle sales.

  • andrewm031

    I find the prospect of having to share hell with racists, terrorists and prosperity preachers a scary one.