Folau ready to walk away from rugby over beliefs
Sydney - Wallabies superstar Israel Folau says he is ready
to walk away from his Rugby Australia contract as his religious faith is
"more important to me than my career" after an uproar over anti-gay
comments he posted online.
Folau, a devout Christian and one of the code's most
marketable players, wrote on social media this month that God's plan for gay
people was hell unless they repented their sins.
The 29-year-old defended his post late Monday on
www.playersvoice.com.au, a website for sportspeople to air their views, saying
he had written them "honestly and from the heart".
Folau also hit out at Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle
for her comments about him after he was summoned to a meeting with the
governing body, which has an inclusion policy to stop discrimination, over his
Castle took no action against the dynamic fullback, but said
the star had agreed to "think about" the impact of his posts and had
acknowledged his comments could have been made "in a more respectful
"I felt Raelene misrepresented my position and my
comments, and did so to appease other people, which is an issue I need to
discuss with her and others at Rugby Australia," he wrote.
Folau revealed he told Castle he was ready to walk away from
his contract immediately "if she felt the situation had become untenable -
that I was hurting Rugby Australia, its sponsors and the Australian rugby
community to such a degree that things couldn't be worked through".
The offer to break the contract, which finishes this year,
was not so he could return to rugby league, Folau added, amid speculation that
several National Rugby League clubs were interested in signing him.
"At no stage over the past two weeks have I wanted that
to happen," he added.
"This is not about money or bargaining power or
contracts. It's about what I believe in and never compromising that, because my
faith is far more important to me than my career and always will be."
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said last week that
Folau's anti-gay remarks would not be tolerated if he opts to switch codes to
Folau played in Australia's NRL from 2007-10, moved to
Aussie Rules for two years before switching codes again, this time to union, by
signing with the Waratahs.