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Israel Folau and Free Speech

Rugby Australia’s (RA) decision to sack superstar Fullback, Israel Folau continues to divide opinion, critics saying the move violates the disgraced Wallaby’s right to free speech.

Earlier this month, Folau posted an image to his Instagram account which stated that, amongst others, homosexuals would, “end up in hell” unless they repented their “sin”.

A devout Christian, this is the latest in a long line of religious ‘teachings’ Folau has offered up on social media.

Some commentators, including controversial antagonist Alan Jones have defended Folau’s right to let his feeling be known online, saying it’s a question of freedom of speech.

Jones said, In a column for The Australian: “We’re on a slippery slope here … it’s got nothing to do with Israel, or rugby, or religion, or homosexuals, or whatever. Where are we in this country on free speech?”

“Rugby Australia are only worried about the quids, they’re only worried about the sponsorship,”

While there are some clear financial push factors in this case, the fact remains that Folau broke the terms of his contract of employment with RA, a fact they say would be the case for any employee there.

However, there has been speculation that a specific, ‘social media clause’ was placed in Folau’s newest contract (the bumper seven-figure deal), likely being the axe RA will yield to sack him if for his continued disrespect of people because of their sexual identity.

Across the globe, the reverberations of Folau’s post continue to have their affect. England star Billy Vunipola has been embroiled in his own scandles for supporting Folau, though his apology appears to have been enough to stave off termination for now.

Overwhelmingly, rugby and sporting communities in general have lauded RA’s courage in dismissing Folau, especially in a World Cup year, showing their commitment in ensuring rugby is a game for all.

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