Gay rugby league star Keegan Hirst has slammed a French club for signing Israel Folau.
Hirst plays for Wakefield Trinity and expressed shock and disappointment at Folau’s signing following his sacking by Rugby Australia.
Hirst is first openly gay rugby league star
The Catalans Dragons offered Folau a one-year contract, 10 years after he last played league for the Brisbane Broncos.
The move outraged Hirst, Super League’s first openly gay player.
He took to social media to slam the Rugby Football League for allowing Folau back into the game:
“It shows none of the bravery, camaraderie or integrity RFL expects from its players, staff and fans.”
Club trolls Folau by announcing Pride Day hours after signing
Wigan announced that its Pride Day will be on the day of their home match against Catalans only hours after Folau’s signing.
Many football clubs worldwide hold Pride Day events to show support for the LGBTIQ community.
The move described as a “not so subtle dig at Folau”.
British rugby league community outraged
The British rugby league community greeted the news with outrage.
Super League CEO Robert Elstone expressed disappointment at the signing but conceded he could do little:
“Super League deplores the homophobic comments Israel Folau has made in the past, which squarely contradict our sport’s core values.
“I have sought the opinion of informed voices connected to our game, and the majority share my disappointment that one of our clubs has chosen to sign him.
“There is a strong feeling that the decision to sign him lets down many people connected to our sport.”
Folau will have contract terminated if he repeats comments
The Catalans Dragons have assured Super League that strict guidelines are in place to prevent Folau from repeating his comments.
“They have also assured us that his contract will be terminated immediately should he do so,” Elstone said.
Folau promised not to make any comments that could cause offence.
Although, he made the same commitment to Rugby Australia before going on to post homophobic slurs.
“I acknowledge the views expressed by Super League and the Rugby Football League,” Folau said.
“I’m a proud Christian, my beliefs are personal, my intention is not to hurt anyone and I will not be making further public comment about them.”
Club is asking for trouble
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan warned the Catalans that they are asking for trouble.
“A leopard never changes its spots, and an ignorant bigot never changes their beliefs,” he said.
“Fundamentalist Christian nut jobs like Israel Folau can’t help themselves.
“They cannot resist the urge to evangelise and shove their hateful and hurtful beliefs down the throats of other people.
“And they always seem so obsessed with other people’s sex lives and with other people’s genitals.
“My guess is that Folau will keep his mouth shut, because the last time he chose Jesus over football, it cost him millions of dollars.
“And if we know one thing about Israel Folau, he loves money and his greed knows no bounds.”
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