AUSTRALIA: Rugby Star Dropped By Top Sponsor Over Anti-LGBT Instagram Posts, Land Rover Takes Back Car

The Guardian reports:

Israel Folau has been dropped by Asics in response to homophobic social media posts he published last month. The sportswear company is a personal sponsor for Folau as well as the Wallabies and has acted after the 30-year-old was found to have committed a high-level breach of Rugby Australia’s code of conduct.

“Asics is dedicated to sport and its healthy contribution to society,” a company statement read. “We believe sport is for everyone and we champion inclusivity and diversity.” Asics is the second sponsor to have cut ties with Folau after Land Rover withdrew a car issued to him.

The 30-year-old devout Christian posted on Instagram that “hell awaits” for “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators”.

ABC News Australia reports:

A hearing has found rugby union player Israel Folau committed a “high-level breach” of the Professional Players’ Code of Conduct over controversial social media posts. A decision has not yet been made on how he will be punished. A panel of John West QC, Kate Eastman SC and John Boultee presided over the three-day hearing, and wants more information before deciding on potential punishments for Folau.

The 30-year-old was stood down by Rugby Australia last month. After being issued with a conduct breach notice, which recommended his four-year contract worth $4 million be terminated, Folau launched a challenge, resulting in the hearing. Rugby Australia had previously reprimanded Folau for targeting the LGBTQI community in his social media posts, warning him that it was against the values the sport’s governing body stood for and telling him to cease.

Australia’s Daily Telegraph reports:

Before and during his code of conduct hearing, Folau could not make any guarantees he would refrain from making further social media posts targeting the gay community if he was kept on by Rugby Australia, and refused to take down the April 10 Instagram post that could have saved him from termination.

Folau was advised that if he removed the offending post, saying that homosexuals and other sinners were destined for hell unless they repented, it would show remorse and therefore his code of conduct breach could only be classed in the low to mid-level.

The 30-year-old remained adamant he would not take down the post because he was not remorseful – it still remains on his page – and therefore he was charged with a high-level breach.