Israel Folau Was Once The Poster Boy For A Gay Rugby Tournament
You can't make this stuff up.
Israel Folau, arguably Australia's best rugby player, is about to have his contract ripped up after a string of anti-homosexual social media posts.
Now, it's been revealed that Folau was actually the face of the Bingham Cup, the biennial world championships of gay and inclusive rugby, just five years ago.
He appeared on the cover of the Star Observer in 2014, under the headline: 'Big Boys And Their Balls'.
Back then, a spokesperson for the Bingham Cup said Folau was a "strong advocate for ending all forms of discrimination in sport".
This is the very same man who, just years later, has taken aim at the LGBTQ community multiple times.
On Wednesday he uploaded a post to Instagram that read: "WARNING Drunks Homosexuals Adulterers Liars Fornicators Thieves Atheists Idolaters, HELL AWAITS YOU. REPENT! ONLY JESUS SAVES," before adding a bible verse from Galatians.
The fullback went on to add: "Those who are living in sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him".
It's not the first time the devout Christian has spoken out about his thoughts on homosexuality.
In 2017, he tweeted that he didn't condone same-sex marriage. It came a day after the Wallabies publicly backed the Yes camp by unveiling a rainbow wallaby logo.
Just last year, the NSW Waratahs and Australian rugby star came under fire for claiming that homosexuals would go to "HELL" unless they "repent their sins".
Folau became Super Rugby's all-time leading try-scorer last Saturday, he's two months into a contract extension, and the Rugby World Cup is just months away, but it seems Rugby Australia has finally had it with his social media rants.
"In the absence of compelling mitigating factors, it is our intention to terminate his contract," RA said in a statement on Thursday night.
"Whilst Israel is entitled to his religious beliefs, the way in which he has expressed these beliefs is inconsistent with the values of the sport," it said
The NRL has also declined to offer a career lifeline to the code-hopper.
"Israel Folau fails the NRL's inclusiveness culture, which is a policy strongly supported by the ARLC," Australian Rugby League Commission boss Peter Beattie said in a statement.
Many fans have stood by Folau, despite the comments, arguing he has a right to express his beliefs.
Broadcaster Alan Jones among them, he's hit out at Rugby Australia. claiming the decision to terminate the star's contract has "completely corrupted" free speech in Australia.
The Australian Family Coalition is also backing Folau, while #IStandByFolau is quickly gaining traction on social media.
Folau is yet to make a comment.