Australian rugby player Israel Folau has been found guilty of breach of contract by Rugby Australia for posting a Bible verse on homosexuality.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, Folau, who was contracted with Rugby Australia until 2022 and was paid over $1M a year, was fired for posting 1 Corinthians 6:9, warning that drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, and idolaters will go to hell.
Despite his termination, Folau requested a three-person independent hearing, according to the BBC. The hearing determined his breach of contract and will consider written statements from both parties before deciding Folau’s punishment.
Folau had been warned about his posts previously. “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,” Raelene Castle, chief executive of Rugby Australia said.
The rugby player has since lost two of his major sponsors since the post. As reported by CBN News, both Land Rover and Asics have let go of his contracts. “We champion inclusivity and diversity,” Asics wrote in a statement. “While Israel Folau is entitled to his personal views, some of those expressed in recent social media posts are not aligned with those of Asics. As such, our partnership with Israel has become untenable and he will no longer represent Asics as a brand ambassador.”
Not everyone has rejected Folau, however. His former coach Alan Jones came to his defense. “The Australian people won’t accept this,” he said on his radio show 2GB, according to MSN. “Israel Folau, with my support and the support of millions of Australians, will take this fight every inch of the way. Rugby union preaches diversity — they really mean uniformity. They preach inclusion but they exclude Israel…I coached Australian rugby, I was proud of it, I was proud of the boys and I was proud of everything we stood for. Today, I’m ashamed of the people who’ve inherited our proud legacy. The battle has just begun, and it’s a battle for all Australians.”
He continued: “If we’re not free to articulate our religious beliefs and quote from the Bible, and if we’re not free to speak for fear that someone affects a hurt or is part of the offense industry, if that’s where we’ve reached this country, we’ve reached a dark place and we are all at risk.”
Despite the loss of his contract, Folau is in high spirits. When Jones comforted him, Folau responded: “Alan, I’m at peace, mate. My head is held high.”
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Anthony Au Yeung/Stringer
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine. She blogs at mikaelamathews.com.