UFC fighter Tai Tuivasa has claimed embroiled rugby star Israel Folau’s past is creating hypocrisy of his present, with the out-spoken religious rugby star ‘blind as a skunk’ and ‘carrying on like a f***ing idiot’ during his days in the NRL.
The Australian-based heavyweight fighter told The Daily Telegraph that Folau is no saint and his righteous showing on social media doesn’t sit well with him. He told Folau he needed a ‘hiding’ for his homophobic religious messages.
“I know what I’ve seen that idiot do when he’s out and about,” he said.
“I’ve seen you out blind as a skunk carrying on now you wanna be all churchy?
“I won’t go into detail about what went on, but I know what happened. And I know what I saw.
“The guy carried on like a f***ing idiot.
“Yet now he wants to be all righteous and put on a show?”
If Folau has changed his ways, Tuivasa believes that is no excuse for bringing down others.
“And maybe he’s changed. Who knows? But that’s no reason to go around trying to bring other people down,” Tuivasa said.
“Has he even thought there might be young footballers out there following him on social media — kids who are 11, 12 — and they’re gay? What happens to them when they read that at home?”
“Suddenly this guy they look up to is saying they’re going to hell. He needs to pull up.”
Tuivasa couldn’t rule out that Folau has been ‘brainwashed’ by ultra-conservative religious figures.
“The way he’s talking now, it’s like he’s been brainwashed,” Tuivasa said. “His views are extremist.
In 2016, Israel Folau spoke to the media about the time early in his career where he got ‘caught up’ in a party lifestyle revolving around alcohol and women and thought he was ‘untouchable’ by the time he moved to the Brisbane Broncos in 2009.
“I was taught some very good life lessons and morals as a young kid growing up,” Folau said in an interview with 1News.
“As soon as I achieved all those things, it kind of went out the window.
“I got caught up in all the party things and I guess I’d say my head was above the clouds.
“I just thought that I was untouchable.
“It got a lot worse when I moved back to Brisbane and played for the Broncos.”
“It got really bad,” Folau said. “I just got caught up in the alcohol, women and all that sort of stuff.
Folau has remained silent after Rugby Australia publicly announced the termination of his contract but is understood he wants to observe his right to challenge RA’s planned sacking at a code of conduct hearing.
Rugby Australia later released a telling joint statement with the NSW Waratahs.
“Our joint position regarding Israel Folau is unchanged,” it said.
“As the meeting was held in confidence between the player and his employers, Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union will not comment on the discussions at the meeting.
“Following today’s meeting, the two organisations will update their respective boards on the matter to consider next steps.”
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