Leading sports journalist Andrew Webster claims Israel Folau went through with his controversial social media posts because he’d simply had enough with professional sport.
Folau’s four-year, $4 million contract was torn up on Friday in the wake of him posting a biblical quote which said homosexuals would go to hell unless they repented.
Rugby Australia said they had to send a strong message after speaking to parents whose children idolised the Wallabies star, but were also struggling with their sexuality.
It was the second time Folau had sparked controversy through his social media accounts, also reprimanded for a similar post in 2018.
Speaking on Channel 9’s Sport Sunday, Sydney Morning Herald journo Webster claimed Wallabies staff are of the belief that Folau was looking for a way out of his career.
“People within the Wallabies set-up are certain that a lot of this is driven by the fact that he’s just had enough,” Webster said.
“He’s been playing professional sport from the age of 17, when he debuted for the Melbourne Storm.
“He’s played three different codes, and they seem to think that the way that he has acted and the way that he was just such a renegade with this last social media post after what happened exactly a year ago, suggests to them in the Wallabies set-up that he just doesn’t want to play professional sport any more.
“It’s also his beliefs; he’s dug in for that.”
‘See ya Israel’
Webster, who is openly gay, then took a huge parting shot at Folau.
“Can I just say this though: See ya, Israel,” he said.
“I’m just so glad that this issue (is over). I know it’s probably going to kick on in the courts, but it’s been such a ridiculous debate.
“The way Israel Folau has been positioned as a victim, that he’s been persecuted, as some modern-day Muhammad Ali in the last 10 days is just ridiculous.
“He’s not being vilified for his Christian beliefs. He’s being vilified for vilifying others. And to be honest, that’s it.
“That’s the debate and that’s where it ends. It’s so good that Rugby Australia and that disciplinary committee could see that.”
Powerful stuff from Andrew Webster on the end, for now, of the Israel Folau saga.
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) May 19, 2019
Folau, who has 72 hours to appeal his sacking, is reportedly intent on taking his case to the Supreme Court.