Compare and contrast: The behaviour that Aussie rugby accepts and rejects

Israel Folau is faced with the equivalent of a lifetime ban from professional sport if his contract is terminated. He is facing this extreme punishment because he published a social media post that contained his own summary of the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10.

Let’s contrast Folau’s behaviour with that of Australian rugby players who have NOT been punished with a lifetime ban from professional sport and who have NOT had their career destroyed. quote.

So, what did Folau NOT do? Well, he didn’t lay the boot into his heavily pregnant wife’s stomach, while she lay on the floor, cowering in the foetal position. Nor did he pick up his ex-girlfriend and hurl her into a garage door at 2am following an epic bender. Folau didn’t kick the livin’ bejesus out of an unconscious man lying in the gutter, outside a nightclub.

Folau hasn’t intentionally smashed an opponent’s jaw to smithereens, in a pre-meditated on-field incident. He didn’t gouge at an opponent player’s eyes, with all the fervour of a nine-year-old excising the last skerrick of ice cream from a four-litre tub. Not once has Folau reckoned upon sticking his index finger up opponents’ bums as being a red-hot, stealthy defensive strategy.

Folau hasn’t been caught on an iPhone, pants around his ankles and frolicking in the company of an unsuspecting mutt. Indeed, neither has he orchestrated the running of an illegal dog-fighting ring; possessed implements used to give electric shocks to thoroughbreds; or done anything else to raise the ire of the RSPCA.

Not even on one occasion has Folau been accused either of unlawfully distributing intimate videos without the consent of those filmed, or of mistreating women in any other way. Never has Folau been caught drink-driving; not even after having a 13-hour break from the schooners and thinking he’d be under 0.05. Folau hasn’t been charged with any crime.

Folau hasn’t racially abused his opponents; hectored at them as “monkeys”. He hasn’t sledged opponents as being “gypsy boys” who should contemplate retreating to their caravan homes.

Folau hasn’t manhandled referees, assaulted teammates and bashed them to a pulp, or stolen money from his fellow players’ wallets while they weren’t looking. Israel hasn’t been caught on video, bragging about his adoration of the “Bondi marching powder”; never once has he tested positive to using prohibited substances either in or out of competition.

Folau’s never placed bets on opposition teams to win, or lose. Folau hasn’t been caught red-handed, in the throes of orchestrated sports cheating, or scheming to rig the system. He hasn’t even chewed on “blood capsules” at the crucial point of a pivotal game, to stop time. Folau isn’t accused of standing over young and impressionable teammates; compelling them to dope, cheat, go to church or do anything else, with the threat of being expelled from the team if they refused.

Now had Folau done any of those things, then maybe he’d be assured of World Cup selection. Because with maybe one or two exceptions, the professional athletes who actually did do these things weren’t banned from their sport for life.

Instead, what Folau has done — the totality of his conduct — has been to publish material on his social media channels that’s been deemed as offensive and a high-level breach of Rugby Australia’s code of conduct. Keep this simple: Folau published some excerpts from Bible passages and his summaries of them. That’s as grave as it gets. end quote


After reading that long list of examples of disgusting behaviour from other rugby players it couldn’t be clearer that Rugby Australia chief executive, Raelene Castle, and her organisation are treating Folau with contempt, and that his proposed punishment is completely unjust, imbalanced and out of all proportion to his alleged ‘crime’.

RA’s Code of Conduct requires that players not act in a way which brings Rugby Australia, the sport of rugby, or that player him or herself into disrepute or discredit and out of all the above players’ sins they decided that publishing a Bible verse was the top of the list.

The tribunal could have chosen a very different penalty to impose on Folau, such as a fine, but they chose the nuclear option instead. I don’t know about you, but to me, it feels very malicious.