Folau’s critics multiplying

27/08/2018 Posted by admin

Chiefs halfback and one-Test All Black Brad Weber has tweeted his disgust at the comments made by Israel Folau about gay people.

Folau has caused an uproar on both sides of the Tasman over his comment on Instagram last month that God’s plan for gay people was “Hell, unless they repent of their sins and turn to God”.

While Super Rugby players and personnel generally have been reluctant to comment publicly, Weber said he was “kinda sick” of players staying quiet on issues.

“I can’t stand that I have to play this game that I love with people, like Folau, who say what he’s saying,” Weber posted on his Twitter account.

“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.”

When a commenter replied that surely Folau was entitled to express his opinion, Weber replied: “Yep. But so am I. And my opinion of his is one that disgusts me.”

There were a number of developments on the Folau issue on Tuesday, with Rugby Australia confirming it would not place any sanctions on him.

Folau had written a column, published in The Players’ Voice on Monday night, in which he outlined his position.

Rugby Australia (RA) chief executive Raelene Castle responded, saying: “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.

“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.”

RAhas been criticised for its handling of the Israel Folau controversy by gay world club rugby champions the Melbourne Chargers.

The issue continues to make waves after RA opted not to sanction their superstar player for his comment on social media that gay people would go to hell unless they repent their “sins”.

Chargers president Xavier Goldie has sent an open invitation for devout Christian Folau to attend one of their training sessions in the hope he could understand why his comments were so hurtful to the gay community.

“In the past, Rugby Australia has been a leader on standing up for diversity and inclusion in the sport, including gay people,” Goldie said.

“We are disappointed they didn’t take action in response to Folau’s harmful comments.

“Penalising him wasn’t their only option, they also could have asked him to meet with gay rugby players to hear why his comments are so incredibly harmful.”

The Chargers won the Bingham Cup, the biggest rugby tournament in the world in terms of participation, in 2016.

Rugby’s highest-profile referee Nigel Owens has urgedthe former NRL star and AFL player to judge him on his character rather than his sexuality.

The Welshman, who has been in charge of more than 150 internationals, came out publicly in 2007 after attempting suicide at age 24, having struggled to come to terms with his sexuality.

The now 46-year-old stresses that Folau is entitled to his beliefs but says his comments would have been deeply hurtful during his difficult time.

Folau has received support fromhis Wallabies teammate Allan Alaalatoa.

The Brumbies prop, who was promoted to Australia vice-captain last year, says Folau’s dedication to his religion is something he can aspire to.

“I’m still trying to build that relationship there [with God],” Alaalatoa said on Wednesday.

“I was lucky enough to have a few times with him in the Wallaby camp to see what’s he about and mainly to see his beliefs as a Christian man,” Alaalatoa said.

“It’s something for myself to look up to and hopefully at one stage in my life I could probably build towards.

Folau revealed in a Players’ Voice column on Monday that he offered to walk away from the game in the wake of the controversy.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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