Chiefs scrum half Brad Weber has lashed out at Israel Folau over his controversial social media posts, saying playing against the Australian “disgusts me”.
Weber is one of the first high-profile players to air his grievances over Folau’s comments on homosexuals, after the Wallaby said they were going to “HELL… unless they repent of their sins and turn to God”.
Weber took to Twitter over the issue and said “Kinda sick of us players staying quiet on some of this stuff. I can’t stand that I have to play this game that I love with people, like Folau, who say what he’s saying”.
“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.”
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. ????????????
Rugby Australia have said they won’t punish Folau over the recently published column in the Players Voice, where he reaffirms his stance.
“In his article, Israel clearly articulated his religious beliefs and why his faith is important to him and has provided context behind his social media comment,” RA chief executive Raelene Castle said in a statement.
“In his own words, Israel said that he did not intend to upset people intentionally or bring hurt to the game. We accept Israel’s position.
“Rugby Australia will use this experience as an opportunity to remind all employees of their obligation to use social media in a respectful way.”
In the fascinating tell-all column for the Players Voice, Folau detailed why he believes what he does and why he believes much of what he has said has been misrepresented.
The Wallaby star admits that he offered to “walk away” from his contract if Rugby Australia felt he was damaging the game of Rugby Union.
“During the meeting I told them it was never my intention to hurt anyone with the Instagram comment, but that I could never shy away from who I am, or what I believe,” wrote Folau.
“They explained their position and talked about external pressure from the media, sponsors and different parts of the community, which I understand.
— Israel Folau (@IzzyFolau) April 16, 2018
“I acknowledge Raelene and Andrew have to run things in a way that appeals broadly to their executive, fans and sponsors, as well as its players and staff. It is a business.”
“I didn’t agree with Bill Pulver taking a stance on the same-sex marriage vote on behalf of the whole organisation, but I understand the reasons behind why he did.
After we’d all talked, I told Raelene if she felt the situation had become untenable – that I was hurting Rugby Australia, its sponsors and the Australian rugby community to such a degree that things couldn’t be worked through – I would walk away from my contract, immediately.
“I feel I need to explain this part in more detail because at no stage over the past two weeks have I wanted that to happen.
“There have been things written about me angling to get a release from my Rugby Australia deal to pursue an NRL contract. That simply isn’t true. There have been rugby offers from the UK, Europe and Japan that are way above anything I could earn in Australia.
“This is not about money or bargaining power or contracts. It’s about what I believe in and never compromising that, because my faith is far more important to me than my career and always will be.”
Folau evades the clutches of Pocock
Folau said he very disappointed with how Castle represented his position in a press conference after the meeting.
“I felt Raelene misrepresented my position and my comments, and did so to appease other people, which is an issue I need to discuss with her and others at Rugby Australia.”
Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle speaks after meeting Israel Folau
“That aside, I hope Raelene and Andrew appreciate my position, even if it differs with theirs.”
“I love rugby union. It has allowed me to travel all over the world and meet some fascinating people along the way.
“I do not want to bring hurt to the game and want as many people playing it as possible, so when I spoke to Raelene about walking away, it was to help the game, not harm it, in the event we couldn’t come to an understanding.
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