Rugby Australia decline to sanction Israel Folau over anti-gay social media post
Last Updated: 12/04/18 12:20pm
Israel Folau has not been formally sanctioned by Rugby Australia after anti-gay comments he made on social media last week.
RA chief executive Raelene Castle and Andrew Hore, the CEO of Folau's Super Rugby team New South Wales Waratahs, met with the player in Sydney on Tuesday.
The meeting was arranged after Folau, an Evangelical Christian, wrote on his Instagram page that gay people would be condemned to "hell" if they failed to "repent", sparking outrage on social media and criticism from a key sponsor. The post has since been deleted.
Castle said Folau acknowledged he had caused "grief to some people" but she declined to comment on whether he had agreed to tone down his views in his social media posts.
"Israel has presented his situation to us, where his views are, where his beliefs are," Castle told reporters in Sydney.
"But at the same time, Rugby Australia has also got a policy and a position of inclusion and using social media with respect.
"Israel has gone away to think about (his social media use), because for him he is proud of what he is and what he stands for, so he wants to make sure that we are not asking him to compromise those beliefs."
Folau's comments were described as "very disappointing" by Qantas airlines, a major sponsor of Rugby Australia, while international referee Nigel Owens, who came out as gay in 2007, said such comments could contribute to young people taking their own lives.
The Wallabies star said last year he would not support legislation allowing gay marriage during a nationwide plebiscite over the issue.
Australia's parliament voted to legalise same-sex marriage in December after the vote returned an overwhelming majority in favour of same-sex unions.