While everyone awaits the final outcome for Israel Folau after Rugby Australia announced his contract would be terminated due to his ill-thought social media activity, it seems like more and more players are being caught up in the fallout.
A number of well-known players had liked Folau’s below post on Instagram – but understandably didn’t catch quite as much flack for their implicit support of Folau’s words as Folau himself did.
View this post on Instagram
Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19?-?21 KJV _______________ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:38 KJV _______________ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Acts 17:30 KJV _______________
While any of Folau’s 331,000+ Instagram followers would be subjected to his post – including thousands of impressionable youths – it takes a lot more digging to see who simply supports Folau’s position.
That hasn’t stopped people from targeting Folau’s more famous supporters with criticism – fairly or unfairly. Some professional rugby players have even posted on their own social media to apologise for liking Folau’s post.
Others, like Billy Vunipola, have come out in support of Folau’s right to express his own views.
View this post on Instagram
So this morning I got 3 phone calls from people telling me to ‘unlike’ the @izzyfolau post. This is my position on it. I don’t HATE anyone neither do I think I’m perfect. There just comes a point when you insult what I grew up believing in that you just say enough is enough, what he’s saying isn’t that he doesn’t like or love those people. He’s saying how we live our lives needs to be closer to how God intended them to be. Man was made for woman to pro create that was the goal no? I’m not perfect I’m at least everything on that list at least at one point in my life. It hurts to know that. But that’s why I believe there’s a God. To guide and protect us and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
The Saracens have subsequently issued a statement saying that Vunipola’s comments are “inconsistent” with the club’s beliefs and that internal discipline procedures will follow, however it appears that Vunipola’s activity have already had repercussions, with Channel 4 dropping Vunipola as the face of their European rugby coverage.
A spokesperson for Channel 4 has said that “(Bully Vunipola)’s views are incompatible with our values as an inclusive broadcaster and in light of this Billy Vunipola won’t be used as a contributor in Channel 4’s rugby coverage.”
No doubt, rugby clubs and unions around the world will be ramping up their social media training for their charges to ensure the Folau saga doesn’t repeat itself in the future.
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.