Australia 'I knew it was going to be offensive': Israel Folau stands by social media posts

07:55  19 october  2019
07:55  19 october  2019 Source:   smh.com.au

Folau denies agreeing to limit comments

  Folau denies agreeing to limit comments Sacked rugby union star Israel Folau says he didn't ever agree to a set of restrictions on his social media use proposed by Rugby Australia.Lawyers for the 30-year-old on Thursday lodged further documents with the Federal Circuit Court as he sues Rugby Australia and the NSW Waratahs for unlawful dismissal.

a man wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Israel Folau is suing Rugby Australia for unlawfully terminating his contract because of his Christian beliefs. © Janie Barrett Israel Folau is suing Rugby Australia for unlawfully terminating his contract because of his Christian beliefs.

Israel Folau said he knew before his social media post warning that homosexuals and other sinners would go to hell would be "offensive" and he would "absolutely" do it again.

The cross-code football star also told an audience of about 1000 people at the Australian Christian Lobby national conference in Sydney on Saturday his termination by Rugby Australia was a "huge surprise".

"As soon as I had a real conversion and was born again, my social media use changed completely," he said. "It wasn’t new, I’d been doing it for a while, so I was caught off guard."

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Pictures: Highs and lows of Israel Folau

Folau is suing Rugby Australia for unlawfully terminating his contract because of his Christian beliefs. Australian rugby officials maintain that Folau breached a players' code of conduct.

"Obviously the gospel was offensive to a lot of people and it was offensive to me at one point but that caused me to have a change of heart, to come to repentence and realise I was a sinner and needed a saviour," Folau said. "So I knew it was going to be offensive to a lot of people ... but ultimately it’s a message of love."

Folau denied media reports that he had a special clause in his contract forbidding him from doing what he did. "I never had a special social media clause, I had a standard contract, the same as every other player," he said.

Folau, who was interviewed on stage by ACL managing director Martyn Iles, was given a standing ovation at the beginning and end of his appearance. The ACL raised $2.2 million from crowdfunding for his legal case.

He said it had been "extremely hard" to deal with the fallout but he would "absolutely" do it again.

"I had purpose in my heart that I would stand up for the truth regardless of what I might lose in life," he said.

Folau said he could "sleep really well at night" because the only approver he cared about was God.

Folau that he had prayed to God for a "challenge" and "test of faith" before the controversy unfolded.

"Be careful what you pray for, God may grant it," he said.

Intense scrutiny off-court shouldn't diminish Folau's legacy on it .
Overshadowed by her controversial husband, Maria Folau is likely about to play her 150th and final netball Test, ending a career built on a combination of natural gifts and extreme work ethic.When her trademark long bombs are on target, you hear a low clunk as the velocity of the ball rattles the goal, followed by the swish of the net. Those two sounds in harmony - an onomatopoeic representation of the power and gracefulness of Folau's shooting action - are among the most magical in international netball.

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