Wallabies star Israel Folau has told his bosses at Rugby Australia he will contest the “high level” code of conduct breach notice he was given over his anti-gay social media posts last week.
Rugby Australia announced its intention to sack Folau last Thursday after he published the two social media posts last week, including one claiming “hell” awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters” and another suggesting transgender laws were “evil”.
The governing body said earlier this week Folau had been given a “high level” breach notice of the professional players’ code of conduct, and had ignored warnings to avoid social media posts that “condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality”.
Rugby Australia confirmed in a statement on Wednesday afternoon Folau had made formal contact and confirmed his intention to contest the matter.
“Israel has responded formally today to request a code of conduct hearing which, under the circumstances, was not an unexpected outcome,” chief executive Raelene Castle said.
“We will now work to confirm a date for the hearing as soon as possible.
“After the date for the hearing is confirmed Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union will make no further comment on the matter until the code of conduct process has concluded.”
The code of conduct requires players to “use social media appropriately”, “treat everyone equally, fairly and with dignity regardless of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation”, and must not bring players, their team or rugby “into disrepute”.
Raelene Castle said earlier this week Folau, a devout Christian, had been warned “formally and repeatedly” about the expectations of him as a player and his social media use.
“It was made clear to him that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action,” she said.
The matter will now go before a code of conduct committee, which will not be able to meet for at least a week due to the Easter break.
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