Watch: 'Do it respectfully' - devoted Christian Sir Michael Jones feels for under-fire Israel Folau, but says faith is built on 'love and grace'

All Blacks legend Sir Michael Jones has chimed in about Israel Folau's controversial anti-gay remarks, saying he feels for the under-fire Wallabies star.

Folau has copped a major backlash after commenting online last month that all gay people will go to hell.

The 53-year-old Sir Michael was today elected as a member of New Zealand’s Rugby board.

He said Folau is a close friend and that social media can be a risky tool for high-profile athletes.

"I personally never do social media and I can see the danger in it," said Sir Michael.

"He (Israel) is a good man and he has got a good heart and got a strong faith.

"He's a friend and my heart goes out to him to through this time. At the same time I recognise that in terms of my faith it is a faith very much built on love and grace."

Other related stories:

Most read story: Dear Israel Folau, I’ve already been to hell
Watch: Emotional Matty McLean stands up for LGBT community after Israel Folau's 'bigoted, hateful, homophobic' comments about gay people
TJ Perenara '100% against' Folau's anti-gay comments, says 'Polynesia has been sexually diverse since forever'

Being a Christian himself, Sir Michael says he has family members who are also part of the LGBTI+ community.

Israel Folau with Blues players Eroni Clarke, Jerome Kaino and Michael Jones. Source: Instagram

"There are members of my family from those communities (LGBTI+) and we love, they are very integral in our lives," he said

"They are a big part of who we are and I'm sure that Israel has the same scenario too. We have big families, we've got such diverse families in that regard.

"Being able to express yourself is important but doing it respectfully and I suppose with wisdom.

"There needs to be a lot of love and a lot of grace particularly as Christians and people of faith in those spaces."

"People who engage with rugby in whatever manner deserve to be treated with respect and dignity," said NZRPA's CEO Rob Nichol. Source: 1 NEWS

The Breakfast presenter is calling "bull" on Folau's use of freedom of speech. Source: Breakfast

Louisa Wall is concerned about the influence the sporting couple could have with their stance on the LGBT community. Source: Breakfast

All Blacks players Brad Weber and TJ Perenara yesterday criticised Folau for his remarks.

Folau has received major backlash after his anti-gay remarks on social media last month. Source: 1 NEWS


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'Cry baby gays' - Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki voices support for Israel Folau over rugby star's homophobic comments

Destiny Church leader Bishop Brian Tamaki has voiced his support for rugby star Israel Folau's opinion that gay people are going to hell, calling members of the LGBT community "cry baby gays".

Folau wrote on social media last month gay people were destined for "Hell, unless they repent of their sins and turn to God".

Other related stories:

Most read story: Dear Israel Folau, I’ve already been to hell

Watch: Emotional Matty McLean stands up for LGBT community after Israel Folau's 'bigoted, hateful, homophobic' comments about gay people

TJ Perenara '100% against' Folau's anti-gay comments, says 'Polynesia has been sexually diverse since forever'

The comment sparked backlash from commentators and players alike for putting people's lives and mental health in danger.

But Tamaki has shown support for Folau, defending his right to freedom of expression while also praising Folau and his wife Maria for their devotion to Christianity.

Tamaki tweeted his support to back up a picture of him after a coffee with the couple he posted last week.

"Jesus didn't apologise for offending people when speaking Gods Word...If the Gay Community want to be accepted as a part of society then 'take it on the nose like the rest of us'," he wrote.

He accompanied the tweet with the hashtag, "#CryBabyGays".

Brian Tamaki poses with Israel and Maria Folau after a coffee.
Brian Tamaki poses with Israel and Maria Folau after a coffee. Source: @BishopTamaki / Twitter

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS


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'You get an aura about how good life is': Journalist's new book shares intimate tales of life after footy for our All Black heroes

The large contracts, sponsors and travel experienced during the career of All Blacks is well documented by media and players alike, but life after retiring, especially for players before the pro era, has often remained a mystery - until now.

Seasoned sport joournalist Wynne Gray interviewed over 20 All Blacks spanning four decades of Test rugby to see what they had done since hanging up the boots.

Their tales were then put together into a book which Gray has since published called Rugby, the Afterlife.

Gray said the book came from a desire to reconnect with many of the players featured in the book.

"I'd lost contact with quite a few of these guys down the years and thought, 'what a nice way to catch up with them and see what they've got up to,' and that's really what it is about," he said.

"There were a number who life has not been favourable for but these are the stories more about people from the amatuer era, some who crossed over into professionalism and these kids who are now entirely professional and what they do once the big bucks stop."

Gray said there are "some" extreme examples of hardship for players but he mostly worked in the "middle ground" for stories feautred in the book.

"There were a number who I contacted and had extremely interesting conversations with but they didn't want to share their stories.

"It might make another great book!"

All Blacks featured in Rugby, the Afterlife:

Mark Allen, Frank Bunce, Adrian Cashmore, Matthew Cooper, Christian Cullen, Craig Dowd, Sean Fitzpatrick, Norm Hewitt, Andrew Hore, Ian Jones, Michael Jones, Josh Kronfeld, Blair Larsen, Walter Little, Richerd Loe, Justin Marshall, Keven Mealamu ,Glen Osborne, Arran Pene, Taine Randell, Eric Rush, John Timu, Jeff Wilson

Wynne Gray spoke to icons such as Glen Osbourne, Christian Cullen and Kevin Mealamu about life after hanging up the boots. Source: Breakfast


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