All Blacks and former Waratahs prop Angus Ta’avao has made a statement of support for the LGBT community in the wake of the Israel Folau saga by wearing rainbow-coloured bootlaces in the Chiefs’ Super Rugby clash against the Lions in Hamilton on Friday.
Ta’avao’s choice of bootlaces comes a week after Folau made controversial posts on Instagram and Twitter which condemned gay people to hell.
The Wallabies and Waratahs star is currently fighting for his career after Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle and New South Wales Rugby Union chief executive Andrew Hore stated their intentions to terminate his multi-million dollar contract, before going on to issue the 30-year-old with a contractual breach notice.
Ta’avao, who has played three tests for the All Blacks since making his debut last year and played alongside Folau during his two-year stint with the Waratahs during 2016 and 2017, was joined by Chiefs teammate and one-test All Black Brad Weber in wearing rainbow laces during their side’s 23-17 defeat at Waikato Stadium.
Weber has previously voiced his disapproval of Folau’s sentiments on Twitter when he made similar posts about the LGBT community that landed him in hot water in April last year.
My cousin and her partner, and my Aunty and her partner are some of the most kind, caring & loving people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. To think that I play against someone that says they'll go to Hell for being gay disgusts me. ????????????
Other All Blacks have since come out in support of the LGBT community following Folau’s comments last week, including Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara.
I don’t even know what to say.
You are loved
You are valued
You are enough
You are worthy
You are deserving
I got you
— Tj Perenara (@Tj_Perenara) April 12, 2019
The All Blacks wore rainbow-coloured bootlaces in their final test match of 2018 against Italy during their end-of-year tour in November, joining forces with several other international teams in a declaration of support for the LGBT community.
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