RUGBY UNION: Wallabies star Israel Folau has caused controversy among rugby fans this week after he made homophobic comments on social media.

Responding to a fan's question as to his opinion on homosexuals, Folau relied on his faith and suggested they would go to "HELL... if they did not repent their sins".

Rugby Australia officials, including CEO Raelene Castle, met with Folau but chose not to impose any official sanctions on the player, rather reinforcing their social media policies to all players and officials.

It has divided opinion across the nation, including in The Daily Examiner office as Moose and special guest Robert 'Burls' Burley go behind the sports desk to dissect the dilemma.

MOOSE ELKERTON: Folau has a right to free speech.

I DON'T agree with the opinions of Israel Folau.

I believe his thoughts, much like many passages in the Bible, are outmoded and archaic.

But that does not mean he should not be allowed to have those beliefs and share those just the same.

It is the ideals of freedom of speech, as described in the UN Convention of Human Rights, that we have built our society on. We promote diversity in Australia - that includes a diversity of opinions.

It is what makes us better as a nation, and more informed as a society.

In a world where vitriol is more commonly spouted than love and respect, it is hard for people to stand up for their beliefs. Especially when they are in the minority, like Folau.

He stood up for something that has been ingrained in his life. Folau is a deeply religious man and considers the Bible to be a measure of direction.

He believes every word in the Bible. No matter how much society has changed since it was written and printed.

Just because we don't also follow the scriptures as closely as Folau does, doesn't make us better people than him.

So far entrenched in his faith and his beliefs, he was willing to walk away from a lucrative contract with the Waratahs and the Wallabies, because he could not come to a consensus with Rugby Australia bosses.

He also loves the game as well. And I believe he had no intention of harming the reputation of the sport itself.

If we stop Folau having a say, are we still better than him?

 

UNDER FIRE: Israel Folau has come under heavy criticism after he slurred homosexuals on social media last week. He has not been officially sanctioned by Rugby Australia as yet.
UNDER FIRE: Israel Folau has come under heavy criticism after he slurred homosexuals on social media last week. He has not been officially sanctioned by Rugby Australia as yet. DANIEL MUNOZ

ROBERT 'BURLS' BURLEY: Take a fine or take a walk, Izzy

SURE, Israel Folau has the right to free speech, as do the Flat Earth community, and lunar landing theorists.

Now, I'm not going to delve into whether I side with them or not as this is not my standpoint.

My issue is the potential hypocrisy that Israel displays by continuing to play under the ARU and its guidelines.

The ARU has a policy of inclusiveness and the platform/profile/notoriety Israel enjoys is provided partially/primarily via the ARU and its corporate machine.

As such he should, in my opinion, be supportive of the ARU's policy and separate his personal view from his public profile.

If he genuinely believes firmly in his viewpoint and convictions, then he is opposed to the corporate policy and he should stand down and not be deriving his income unethically and hypocritically.

The ARU, in my opinion, could and should impose a fine on Folau, as they do with other players when they bring the game into disrepute through drinking, violence, abuse etc.

He has a contracted responsibility to play the game under the ARU and its policies. If he had of brought the focus onto rugby because had engaged in a drunken fight outside a bar he would have been hauled over the coals and fined.

Surely, he cannot be a halfway believer and happy to trade a bank account for religious belief. He has the right to his opinion and thus the flow-on effect. Take a fine or take a walk, Israel.


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