Wallabies and Waratahs star Israel Folau has officially been hit with a Code of Conduct breach notice breach notice by Rugby Australia, in the first steps towards tearing up his contract. After making his now infamous Instagram post, in which Folau claimed that all gay people are inherently sinners who need to repent or go to Hell, the star fullback has been caught up in a storm of controversy and condemnation leading to this.
RA CEO Raelene Castle revealed yesterday that the all-time leading try scorer in Super Rugby had no specific clauses regarding social media use in his contract, however he was disciplined for very similar behaviour last year and there are documented agreements by him to not do it again. He is also bound by the players Code of Conduct, which states that social media cannot be used disrespectfully or to discriminate.
Folau has 48 hours from Monday afternoon to either accept the breach notice or request a hearing, which would be before a tribunal that would decide if dismissal is the appropriate response. He has stated that he is prepared to walk away from rugby if he feels that he cannot accept the values of the rugby community.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, Waratahs coach Darryl Gibson and Waratah and Wallaby captain Michael Hooper made a joint statement earlier yesterday, where Cheika announced that he would not pick Folau even if he was available for the sake of team cohesion, while Hooper said it would be “very difficult” to play alongside him. Gibson reiterated that Folau has been stood down from Waratahs duties, and expressed his disappointment at the situation.