Chiefs halfback disgusted by Folau anti-gay comments
Wellington - Chiefs halfback Brad Weber has condemned
Wallabies superstar Israel Folau's anti-gay comments and urged other rugby
players to speak out.
Weber said he could not remain silent after Folau wrote on
social media this month that God's plan for gay people was hell unless they
repent their sins.
"Kinda sick of us players staying quiet on some of this
stuff," Weber tweeted late on Tuesday.
"I can't stand that I have to play this game that I
love with people, like Folau, who say what he's saying."
Weber, who earned his sole All Blacks cap in 2015 but has
struggled with injuries since, said he was disgusted Folau, a devout Christian,
was judging his loved ones.
"My cousin and her partner, and my aunty and her
partner are some of the most kind, caring & loving people I have ever had
the pleasure of knowing," he wrote.
"To think that I play against someone that says they'll
go to hell for being gay disgusts me."
Rugby Australia has decided against sanctioning Folau over
his comments, saying the player never intended to hurt anyone.
Referee Nigel Owens, who attempted suicide as a young man
struggling to accept he was gay, said he respected Folau's religious beliefs
but the player should think about the impact of his words.
"When you're in a position of privilege like that,
there comes a responsibility in the way in which you convey those
beliefs," he told British lifestyle website joe.co.uk.
"Me being gay is not a choice. There are young people
out there taking their own lives, feeling like I did."
Owens urged Folau to "judge me and other gay people on
the content of their character, not on their sexuality".
The furore has cast doubt on Folau's future with the
Wallabies after he revealed this week that he had offered to walk away from the
final year of his contract if Rugby Australia thought he was hurting the game.
Rugby clubs in Europe and Japan, as well as Australia's
National Rugby League, are reportedly interested in signing the 29-year-old.
Until Weber's comments, Folau's fellow players have been
largely quiet about his remarks, aside from a message of support from his Waratahs
team-mate Curtis Rona.
The Wallabies' major sponsor Qantas, which strongly backed
Australia's gay marriage referendum last year, said on Wednesday that there
were "no changes" to the contract, which is due to expire in 2020.