Rugby union star Israel Folau has caused controversy with an Instagram comment he posted condemning gay people to “hell.”
The Wallabies and New South Wales Waratahs player posted a image with a message about the more difficult road being a part of “god’s plan”, likely a reference to his upcoming month-long stint on the sideline due to a hamstring injury.
One of Folau’s Instagram followers asked in a since-deleted comment, “what was gods plan for gay people??”
Folau replied, “HELL.. Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.”
Rugby fans took notice of the response and screenshots of the exchange quickly went viral on social media.
A Rugby Australia spokesperson said on Thursday, “Israel Folau’s personal beliefs do not reflect the views of Rugby Australia.
“Rugby supports all forms of inclusion, whether its sexuality, race, or gender, which is set out in our Inclusion Policy 2014.”
Folau was a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage during the postal survey last year, and last September tweeted about how he would be voting “no”.
“I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions,” Folau tweeted in September 2017.
“But personally, I will not support gay marriage.”
Doesn't quite fit with Israel Folau's "I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions" line from last year. pic.twitter.com/A023XnxRBd
— Ben Coles (@bencoles_) April 3, 2018
I see unlike Australia, Israel Folau isn't moving with the times pic.twitter.com/sOyvlR7wh5
— Graham Love (@GLove39) April 3, 2018
Israel Folau is a truly despicable human being for making this statement. If rugby union supports and rewards a person like this, I have watched my last game of rugby union. https://t.co/AccPCdo2RN
— Angela Pulvirenti (@AngePulvirenti) April 4, 2018
This is disgusting. Israel Folau has thousands of fans, kids that look up to him – and he chooses to use that publicity to make sure that the LGBTQI+ kids of Australia know that he reckons they should go to hell. Hey Australia maybe time to get better sporting heroes aye
— Andrei (@andzyc181) April 4, 2018
(Top photo by Eva Rinaldi/Flickr)