A controversy over an Australia rugby player’s Bible-themed social media comments has led to an even more bizarre incident – a rugby player apologizing for his Easter post.
Samu Kerevi of the Queensland Reds rugby team took to Instagram Easter week to post the text of John 3:16 with the comment: “Thank You Jesus for dying on the cross for me. I love you Jesus.” His post included a picture of him in action.
But some rugby fans felt Kerevi was siding with rugby star Israel Folau, who plays for the New South Wales Waratahs and is facing dismissal from the league for a post calling homosexuality a sin. Kerevi and Folau play in the Super Rugby League. Folau is one of the highest-paid rugby players in the world.
“I apologise to anyone that I have offended in giving praise to our God on a weekend that we take off to celebrate his Sacrifice for you and I,” Kerevi, the team captain, wrote in a follow-up Instagram story post, according to Fox Sports.
On Tuesday, Kerevi added further clarification.
“To be clear I’m not apologizing for my faith in Jesus Christ my Saviour,” he wrote on Instagram. “God will always come first in my life and many other professional rugby players.”
Rugby Australia suspended Folau in April after he posted a Bible verse about homosexuality and urged his followers to “turn to Jesus.” Folau could learn his fate Saturday when he faces a three-person tribunal. He makes more than $1 million each year.
Some players defended Folau. Queensland’s Taniela Tupou said Folau’s beliefs are shared by others.
“Seriously Might as well sack me and all the other Pacific Islands rugby players around the world because we have the same Christian beliefs,” Tupou wrote on Facebook. “I will never apologise for my faith and what i believe in, religion had nothing to do with rugby anyways.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Chris Hyde/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.