Netball Australia and Super Netball have exonerated Maria Folau for re-posting her husband Israel Folau’s GoFundMe page details via social media.
In a joint statement released on Sunday, the two sports bodies claimed: “Netball Australia and Suncorp Super Netball is committed to providing welcoming, inclusive and supportive places for all people to play and watch our great game.
“We are aware that Adelaide Thunderbirds’ athlete Maria Folau re-posted her husband’s GoFundMe page details via social media. There is no action required by the league. We will continue to support Maria as a valued member of the Thunderbirds and the Suncorp Super Netball league.”
Folau had re-posted her husband’s Instagram post to her own feed, featuring a photo with the word “support”.
In the post, the pair explained that they had spent $100,000 of their own money in legal costs and were after donations from anyone willing to contribute.
Maria Folau, who plays for the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Super Netball, shared one of her husband's posts asking for donations https://t.co/13W8I7WieJ
— The Sydney Morning Herald (@smh) June 23, 2019
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that a link was also included to Israel Folau’s website in his wife’s biography so people could donate money to the cause. By 2pm BST, the fund-raising account has secured $734,774 of its $3million goal.
Folau had his contract terminated by Rugby Australia in early May following his use of social media for a derogatory post which claimed that homosexuals, along with other groups like atheists and drunks and atheists, were destined for hell unless they repented their sins.
In a statement on Sunday just before the Thunderbirds’ match against the NSW Swifts in Adelaide, Netball South Australia chief executive Bronwyn Klei said: “I want to be very clear that Netball South Australia is fiercely determined to provide an inclusive environment that allows anyone to participate in the great game of netball regardless of gender, religious belief, age, race or sexual orientation. We also believe in fairness and perspective.
View this post on Instagram
#Repost @izzyfolau with @get_repost ??? Some people have questioned why I am putting myself, my reputation and my future on the line by taking on Rugby Australia when the easier path may have been to hide my faith. I believe what is easy is not always right. My faith is who I am and if I don’t stand up for it, what hope is there for a person of less resources who is discriminated against in the workplace? So far Maria and I have used over $100K of our savings and I am willing to do what it takes for this cause. But to continue I need to prioritise funding for my legal case. To those who believe in the right to practise religion without fear of discrimination in the workplace, here is my ask: Stand with me. I’ve put the link in my bio. If you can and choose to donate, thank you from the bottom of my heart. #standwithizzy
“Like millions of other people across Australia, Maria Folau uses her personal social media platform to share her life and beliefs with her family, friends and fans. This week, she shared her husband’s controversial GoFundMe post.
“While Netball SA in no way endorses the re-posting, we do not believe Maria has contravened our social media policy.”
Maria Folau was by her husband’s side throughout his code of conduct hearing.
WATCH: How Israel Folau first announced he had launched his GoFundMe page
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