The only way the NRL should let Folau back

 

Israel Folau should be allowed to return to the NRL - but only if he denounces his offensive belief that gays will go to hell and remove his Instagram post.

It's not good enough for the NRL to insert a few clauses in his contract preventing him from posting future discriminatory material.

We all know what Folau already thinks, and what he has put up for public consumption in the past; his April 2019 Instagram warning that homosexuals were destined for hell still remains up on his profile to this day.

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Israel Folau and wife Maria could be ready to resume their respective careers in Australia.
Israel Folau and wife Maria could be ready to resume their respective careers in Australia.

The hurt he caused to the LGBTQI community nearly two years ago remains as painful now.

Sponsors may want to disassociate themselves with the St George Illawarra Dragons or rugby league over Folau's potential signing.

But this a human issue. It should be about how many vulnerable members of the gay community, many who play the game or work in it, will absorb the pain while seeing Folau put up as a poster boy for the sport once more.

Religious freedom, you say?

In modern society, we reject religious text that states killing members of other religions will be kindly rewarded by God. We abhor verses stating that women are lesser beings to men, and that young girls may be taken as wives, and that one can keep slaves.

 

 

Time and education help us evolve, so why would we continue to accept the clear demonisation of a minority group among us excused by the term "religious freedom?"

Sure, Folau has the right to believe such things. But employers, sponsors and fans also have the right to reject him based on those beliefs.

If an athlete made racist or sexist comments on social media, left them up for everyone to read, but promised not to make any more divisive statements in order to sign a lucrative contract, we would not accept it.

And so, it's not justifiable for Folau simply to promise he won't do it again. He must apologise for doing so in the first place, and take down the offending meme.

If he refuses, the NRL must refuse Folau.

Folau has been playing the English Super League for Catalan Dragons.
Folau has been playing the English Super League for Catalan Dragons.

But that will be fine by Folau, too.

Because in his own words, during his legal battle against Rugby Australia, Folau said if he had to choose between his beliefs and his sporting career, he would always choose his religion

We will find out if he remains this steadfast.

One thing is for sure; the NRL cannot employ anybody who has a post on their public social media page saying gays are destined for hell.

Otherwise it will give bigots every excuse to bring back to rugby league the vulgar language that took decades of education, understanding, and tragedies, to eradicate.

Originally published as The only way the NRL should let Folau back


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