Opinion: Israel Folau's homophobic beliefs have no place in society - let alone rugby

There is no dispute that Israel Folau is one of the best players in the Australian side, if not the world. There is also no dispute his reputation's now well and truly tainted for his homophobic comments online.

The Australian fullback says his religious views were the reason he commented on an Instagram post, saying that God's plan for gay people was "HELL".

Yet, for someone so apparently versed in the teachings of the bible, Folau is very quick to forget that John 4:7-21 says "If God so loved us, we ought to love one another."

He's since had an article published on sports website Players Voice reiterating his view point, even going as far as to say that he gave Rugby Australia's big wigs the option to sack him.

But despite Folau breaking the sport's code of conduct in the Australian Rugby bible, he still has a job. He's also the code's highest paid player earning more than a million dollars a year.

Go figure.

I don't care if he's the most talented rugby player the world's ever seen, he should be held accountable. If not, what example are we setting for future generations?

He represents more than himself when he puts on the gold jersey.

He represents Australia, not to mention rugby fans all around the globe. He also represents the brands on his jersey – corporate giants like Qantas and Asics.

Isreal Folau of Australia after the The Rugby Championship match between Argentina and Australia at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham - 08/10/2016
Copyright photo:
Israel Folau. Source: Photosport

They too, I expect will feel the repercussions of his foul remarks.

Freedom of speech is one thing, but publicly attacking homosexuals on a social media platform (with almost 340,000 followers) is another, and let me make it clear - Folau's comments are hateful, and have no place in today's society, let alone professional sport.

It would be interesting if when Folau runs out onto Allianz Stadium for the Waratahs' next home game, he were to look up to a packed house of gay pride banners and flags, not just young boys and girls looking at him with wide eyes waiting until the end of the game to get his signature.

It would no doubt be a confronting view for an ignorant sporting star.

* Jordan Oppert is a 1 News reporter.