Folau: Apologise or else ...
Wallaby Israel Folau is hoping for an apology from Rugby Australia when he meets with officials from the body at the Fair Work Commission on Friday.
“I’m hopeful for an apology from them and [an] admission that they were wrong,” Folau told Sky News.
“That would be something that I would like to get.”
RA sacked Folau after taking issue with a social media post by the committed Christian in April that was condemned as homophobic.
Folau had paraphrased a Bible passage saying “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters” would go to hell unless they repented.
He has launched legal proceedings with the Fair Work Commission against the body, arguing he was unfairly dismissed on religious grounds.
Folau is seeking AU$10 million in damages from RA and wants his multimillion-dollar contract reinstated after it was pulled by the association.
Folau said RA had offered him money to remove the post that caused the issue, but he declined to do so.
He said sharing the Bible and its passages were part of his duty as a Christian, but understood how people could be hurt by his posts.
“I couldn’t do that as a person that’s convicted by my faith. I couldn’t live with that,” Folau said.
“It certainly comes from a place of love and it’s nothing personal.”
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RA, for their part, denied offering Folau money to remove the post.
“Any suggestion that Rugby Australia offered Israel Folau money to remove a post made on April 10, 2019, is completely untrue,” an RA statement said.
Folau also insisted he has no hard feelings towards former teammates who have publicly criticised his approach and, while he doesn’t understand all of their comments, they haven’t caught him off guard.
“All the backlash that I’ve received, it’s been no surprise. It states that in the Bible,” Folau said.
The player and RA representatives will meet at the Fair Work Commission on Friday for the next step in their legal stoush.
The meeting comes as a campaign to raise funds to support Folau’s case has been “paused” after donations topped AU$2 million.
The Australian Christian Lobby, which set up the fundraiser on its website, said the flow of donations since it was opened on Tuesday had been overwhelming.
More than 20,000 people had donated more than AU$2.2 million by Thursday morning.
“Your overwhelming support means that Israel Folau has raised enough money for now,” the ACL said in a statement on its website.
“ACL, Izzy and everyone involved is humbled and grateful. We are hitting the pause button. But if the case drags on and Israel needs more support, we will reopen this campaign.”
The ACL said the fundraiser not only showed there was support for Folau but a “great movement of quiet Australians have found their voice”.
The ACL effort replaced an earlier campaign on GoFundMe that was taken down by the platform for breaching its service guidelines.