Folau escapes sanction for anti-gay remark

Paola Ditto
Aprile 17, 2018

In the column, Folau threatened to walk away from the game if RA officials asked him to.

Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle is under pressure from Israel Folau's allies to allow him to express his opinions.

Folau's contract is up at the end of the year with discussions on his future, at this stage, having no timeline. Castle responded by saying she was satisfied with the "respectful" way he clarified his remarks.

In their eyes, there has been a major backflip.

"I was asked a question by somebody about what God's plan is for gay people", Folau wrote.

But the Sydney Morning Herald reports that sponsors were told Folau would be punished for his outburst and now that's not happening, some of those may vote with their feet. Instead, the opposite has happened.

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson, meanwhile, backed Folau's response, describing his response as a "very balanced article".

The decision not to breach Folau is sure to bring Castle's position into question after Folau was highly critical of her in his Players' Voice column.

"After we'd all talked, I told Raelene if she felt the situation had become untenable - that I was hurting Rugby Australia, its sponsors and the Australian rugby community to such a degree that things couldn't be worked through - I would walk away from my contract, immediately", Folau wrote.

The 29-year-old explained that at no point over the two weeks following his social post did he want to have his contract torn up, despite the rumours that had been circling.

'That aside, I hope Raelene and Andrew appreciate my position, even if it differs with theirs'.

"What I think is irrelevant, Israel made it really clear what he expressed aren't the views of Rugby Australia or the Waratahs and they are his specific views, and he's made that really clear".

"When I spoke to Raelene about walking away, it was to help the game, not harm it, in the event we couldn't come to an understanding".

Folau said he "could never shy away from who I am or what I believe", and speculation he was looking for a way out of his ARU contract to take up big offers elsewhere was false. "They explained their position and talked about external pressure from the media, sponsors and different parts of the community, which I understand".

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