Australian rugby star Israel Folau lost a $4 million contract last Friday when an appeals tribunal upheld Rugby Australia’s decision to terminate Folau’s contract after he posted a biblically-based comment on Instagram warning different types of sinners about the reality of hell as well as proclaiming the love of Jesus.
Folau explained, “As Australians, we are born with certain rights, including the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of expression. The Christian faith has always been a part of my life and I believe it is my duty as a Christian to share God’s word.”
However, Rugby Australia saw the 30-year-old’s words as violating its code of conduct, since it is also a founding member of Pride in Sport, a program that promotes LGBT lifestyles in athletics. The rugby league asked Folau to take down the post or risk losing his contract.
Folau not only refused to take down the post, but also refused the league’s $1 million settlement. He is considering bringing a lawsuit.
Earlier this month, both Land Rover and Asics pulled their partnerships with Folau after the Instagram post. Folau could be the first Australian athlete dismissed for expressing fundamental religious beliefs.
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