Few will be surprised [National Rugby League] club St George-Illawarra hastily abandoned plans last week to sign former Wallaby Israel Folau for a two-year contract. Most are surprised the club made the offer in the first place. …
League is an inclusive game. It includes many current players who during the last few years were found guilty of a diverse range of criminal offences, including domestic violence, assault, offensive behaviour, drug possession, and damaging property.
Last week Broncos forward Payne Haas added to their number after pleading guilty to two counts of intimidating police. During his expletive-ridden spray at Tweed Heads last month he said to a female officer “Why you looking at me like that? ‘Cause you’re a woman? ‘Cause you’re a woman you think I won’t touch ya?” The NRL has fined him $50,000 and suspended him for three matches.
Unlike Folau, he gets to keep his job. But in defence of the NRL, whatever Haas and these other thugs did — whether it was threatening or bashing women, or snorting coke, or punching on in a carpark, or pissing in the street, or trashing another’s property, or filming a woman without consent during sex, or committing a home invasion while terrified occupants, including a nine-year-old, barricaded themselves inside a bathroom — none of these players, to their credit, posted non-inclusive biblical tracts on social media.
And as [League boss Peter V’landys] stressed in 2019, “We need to make sure we’re not punishing people twice.” Except of course if that person is Folau, in which case he must be forever banished, despite having broken no law.
Folau’s wrongdoing is compounded by the fact he has not shown obeisance to his accusers, nor sought their forgiveness. He has not acknowledged to his betters he is fundamentally flawed, nor has he shown penitence. He challenges truths which must never be questioned, thus corrupting and poisoning the minds of our young people. It is not so much his indifference to his detractors that is provocative but that he seemingly relishes being shunned. In short, he has failed to recognise his archaic beliefs have no place in a tolerant and secular society. ….
Regrettably, Folau continues to show intolerance. Witness for example his refusal last August to join his fellow Catalans Super League players in showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. How ignorant would you have to be to deprive spectators the sight of the team unanimously taking a knee in the name of equality and anti-racism? Ditto English Rugby international Billy Vunipola, who last year refused to kneel with his Saracens teammates, saying “Though I am a person of colour, I’m still more a person of Jesus”. …
A poll by the Weekend Australian of online readers in May 2019 that attracted 21,700 responses revealed 89 per cent believed Rugby Australia should not terminate Folau’s employment. And in June 2019 an online appeal to fund Folau’s appeal to Fair Work Australia for his sacking quickly accumulated $2.1 million in contributions. … Clearly, many people regard Folau’s treatment as unfair. …
Capitulating to this lunacy is to perpetuate lunacy, but many are reluctant to call it out. It has given rise to an ideology that is militant, punitive, and demands conformity. It holds power over government, academic institutions, and now the private sector. You will observe its tenets, else suffer the social and financial consequences.