Brett Finch has called on the NRL to reconsider its hardline stance on bringing Israel Folau back into the 13-man code.
Rugby Australia issued Folau a breach of contract notice following repeated homophobic social media posts, but the 30-year-old will fight for his career at a code of conduct hearing next week.
It looks increasingly likely that his days in rugby union are numbered, however the NRL was previously stated it will not consider welcoming the former Storm and Broncos star back into rugby league.
But speaking on the Life of Bryan and Adam podcast, Finch pointed out that the NRL has previously welcomed criminals back, so why not Folau?
“Rugby league shouldn’t have commented in the first place. It’s not a rugby league issue,” Finch said.
“Until he knocks on the door, we don’t need to comment — it’s not a rugby league issue.
“The thing rugby league gets itself in trouble for, (is) we’ve let criminals back into the game.
“We let people who’ve committed crimes who’ve been in jail, come back into the game.
“Last time I checked, Israel Folau didn’t commit a crime.
“I don’t agree for one bit with what he is saying, but he has the right to say what he wants.
“Clubs can choose not to sign him, but for the game to say, ‘you’re not allowed,’ I don’t think they can do that, because we’ve let people back in who’ve (committed) domestic violence, the list goes on with (indiscretions).
“That’s where we’ve set a precedent in the past.”
Given there are Easter public holidays on Friday and next Monday then Anzac Day next Thursday, it seems unlikely Folau’s hearing will be conducted until the following week.
The hearing process will involve a panel of three – a representative of RA, a representative of the players’ union RUPA and an independent person approved by both organisations, who would be the chair.