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Rugby Australia’s “Own Goal”

If Rugby Australia had existed in the first century of the Christian era, and Paul had had enough talent to be a contracted player, the sport's national governing body presumably would have ripped up his contract once his first letter to the Corinthians, with its injunction against homosexuality, became public. Just ask star fullback and born-again Christian Israel Folau.

MELBOURNE – There is no such thing as an own goal in rugby, but Rugby Australia, the game’s governing body in Australia, has done its very best to score one by terminating the contract of Israel Folau. In doing so, it has lost the services of a star fullback who has played 73 tests for Australia.

Rugby Australia’s reason for ending Folau’s career is that he posted on his Instagram account a photo of a notice saying that “hell awaits… drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, and idolaters.” To this, Folau added some words of his own: “Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.”

In a statement issued after the sacking, Rugby Australia Chief Executive Officer Raelene Castle said: “I’ve communicated directly with the players to make it clear that Rugby Australia fully supports their right to their own beliefs and nothing that has happened changes that. But when we are talking about inclusiveness in our game, we’re talking about respecting differences as well. When we say rugby is a game for all, we mean it.”

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