Wallabies fullback Folau rejects huge settlement offer
Australian player’s legal team says he was merely quoting scripture in post that said hell awaits homosexuals
Sydney — Wallabies fullback Israel Folau rejected an A$702,100 offer from Rugby Australia to walk away from his contract ahead of this weekend’s code of conduct hearing, local media reported on Sunday.
Folau, a fundamentalist Christian, on Saturday faced a three-member panel who will decide whether he breached RA’s code of conduct with a social media post that said “hell awaited drunks, homosexuals, adulterers” and others.
More evidence was heard from Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle and her New South Wales Waratahs counterpart Andrew Hore on Sunday and the hearing will continue on Tuesday, the governing body said in statement.
The Sunday Telegraph earlier reported that Folau could have avoided it altogether if he had agreed to accept a sum equivalent to one year of his lucrative contract. Rugby Australia and the Waratahs have already publicly committed to terminating Folau’s contract and in April served the 73-Test back with a breach notice that said his social media post had “disrespected” people on the basis of their sexuality and was in breach of his contract and Rugby Australia’s inclusion policy.
Folau was issued a formal warning after a similar post in 2018 but attempts by Rugby Australia to include specific clauses about social media posts in the contract the player signed in February were rejected, the newspaper said.
The record Super Rugby try-scorer’s legal team will argue that Folau was merely quoting scripture and not directly disrespecting any individual, the report said.
Folau, Castle and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika all gave oral evidence on day one of the hearing. The offending post, which has attracted 53,000 likes and 47,700 comments, remains on Folau’s Instagram page.