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'His comments can kill' - ex-Black Ferns player slams Israel Folau's homophobic remarks

Former Black Fern and current member of parliament Louisa Wall has slammed Australian fullback Israel Folau, after his condemnation of homosexuals on social media.

Folau, 29, caused an uproar in the rugby community, having posted on social media that gay people were destined for hell "unless they repent of their sins and turn to God".

Since then, Folau has met with Australian Rugby CEO Raelene Castle, and suggested he could quit the game altogether for being persecuted over his personal beliefs.

Speaking to 1 NEWS today, Wall made it clear that Folau's comments should not be taken lightly, adding that they are dangerous given the fullback's stature within Australian sport.

"He doesn't really realise that what he's said literally means to a gay person that there's something wrong with you, and you should suffer for the rest of your life unless you repent," she said.

"He needs to reflect on his role as a public figure, and what he says and how it influences, particularly young people.

"I'm sure he'd be distressed to know his comments can kill, and they kill because young people feel despair because (they feel) there's something wrong with them, and they should take their own lives.

Wall also noted that Australian rugby's response - or lack thereof - is surprising, given their stance over civil rights and marriage equality in the past.

"I'm incredibly disappointed in his stance, because of how supportive Australian Rugby was with the marriage equality debate in Australia - especially supportive of diversity and inclusion."

"I would have thought in their contracts, that player's have clauses that they must not bring the game into disrepute.

"I would have thought that saying a group of Australians, or a group of people in the world are wrong and they're going to suffer for the rest of their lives, and using the hell analogy, has bought the game into disrepute.

"There's a difference between having a personal opinion, and having an opinion when you're a public figure that so detrimentally harms - and especially (to) LGBT people.

"I really do hope that Israel reflects on this situation, and actually understands that he's a role model that people look up to and what he says does matter. He can believe whatever he believes, but there are some things that need to be kept personal." 

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Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 or www.depression.org.nz

The Lowdown: A website to help young New Zealanders recognise and understand depression or anxiety. www.thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626

SPARX.org.nz - Online e-therapy tool provided by the University of Auckland that helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed

OUTLine NZ – 0800 688 5463 for support related to sexual orientation or gender identity

MP Louisa Wall urged the Wallabies star to think about his comments. Source: 1 NEWS


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