Culture

Israel Folau Is Sorry For Not Saying ‘Gays Go To Hell’ In a “More Positive Way”

Respectfully, gays go to hell.

“Israel acknowledged that maybe he could have put a positive spin on that same message and done it in a less disrespectful way.”

That’s what Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle told media today after her meeting with star player Israel Folau over his recent comments that God’s plan for gay people was “hell”.

Castle also told gathered reporters that Rugby Australia was… proud of Folau:

“We’re proud of the fact that he’s a strong believer and he’s prepared to stand up for what he believes in,” Castle said.

“We want athletes in our code who are prepared to do that and that’s really important,” Castle continued. “But at the same time, Rugby Australia’s got a policy and position of inclusion and using social media with respect.”

Rugby Australia’s inclusion policy specifically regulates homophobia in the sport. The policy notes that “there is no place for homophobia or any form of discrimination in our game”.

The meeting was attended by Folau, Castle and NSW Rugby Union boss Andrew Hore.

Folau’s contract with Rugby Australia ends later this year, which means that this controversy came at a tricky time for the code.

Castle even said in her press conference that “we would really like him to stay in rugby”.

Over the weekend, Folau stoked even more controversy by tweeting a Bible verse that painted him as the victim in the situation.

No punishment has been handed down today, but Rugby Australia said that it will meet with Folau again later in the week.

Since Folau’s comments made headlines, key sponsors Qantas, Land Rover and Asics have all publicly questioned whether they wish to remain a part of Rugby Australia.