20 May, 2019. Israel Folau will not appeal against his sacking by Rugby Australia for comments about gay people but says his decision is “in no way an acceptance of the judicial panel’s findings”.
The full-back, 30, had his contract terminated after saying “hell awaits” gay people in a social media post.
A code of conduct hearing upheld the RA decision. Folau had 72 hours to appeal but has chosen not to.
“I am considering all potential avenues open to me,” said Folau.
The fundamentalist Christian, who had a contract running until 2022, could still take his case to the courts in Australia.
“My decision not to commence Rugby Australia’s appeal process is in no way an acceptance of the judicial panel’s findings,” he said.
“I simply do not have confidence in Rugby Australia’s ability to treat me fairly or lawfully throughout this process.
“I believe I still have a lot of rugby left in me and the potential impact of Rugby Australia’s decision on my reputation and my career is substantial.”
Folau’s sacking stems form a banner he posted on his Instagram account in April that read: “Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators – Hell awaits you.”
He requested a hearing into his dismissal, at which he was found guilty of a “high-level breach” of RA’s player code of conduct.
“As Folau has not notified the panel of his intention to appeal, the code of conduct process has now formally concluded,” said an RA statement.
“With the code of conduct matter complete, Folau’s employment contract will be terminated.”
In addition to his rugby union career, Folau has also played professional rugby league and Australian rules football. In April, Australian rugby league’s governing body ruled out Folau returning to the NRL.
He has recently lost sponsorship deals with Land Rover, who withdrew a car issued to him, and sportswear brand Asics.