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Israel Folau sacked for quoting the Bible, from Peter Myers

Israel Folau sacked for quoting the Bible - the very Bible you swear on in Court
Big business is Big Brother
This newsletter is at Israel Folau vs Big Brother. Folau’s religious freedom the defining issue of our time(2) Pacific Islands Rugby Players (1/3 of Australia's team) unite behind Israel Folau(3) Folau hearing: Any car that arrived or exited was swamped(4) Rugby Australia faces financial ruin over Israel Folau case(5) 'Rugby Australia failed to get Folau to sign off on the social media clause in his playing contract'(1) Israel Folau vs Big Brother. Folau’s religious freedom the defining issue of our time JONES12:00AM MAY 3, 2019Just when you thought the administration of rugby could not get worse, it continues to be a sporting embarrassment.Does no one in a position of leadership understand the damage that is being done to the game as a result of the Israel Folau affair?Who is going to be brave enough to put their hand up, even on the eve of this "tribunal" meeting tomorrow; or do we just keep digging the hole and burying the game?Let me say up front that Rugby Australia, the administration, can’t win.They have the most expensive legal advisers that money can buy. Surely they are telling Rugby Australia that this is unwinnable.RA may get some vicarious satisfaction by hoping that Israel will be punished, rubbed out of the game, humiliated, ostracised, denigrated and the contract ripped up.Well, I say, do your best. That strategy will not win.I have written three articles in this newspaper on this matter. They have been among the most read and thousands of readers have left comments.It is unprecedented and 95 per cent of them support Israel Folau’s right to articulate his religious beliefs.In one week it is infinitely worse than it was.We read in this paper, earlier this week, that the gifted Polynesian captain of Queensland rugby, Samu Kerevi, posted on Instagram on Easter Thursday, "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that, whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life … Thank You Jesus for dying on the cross for me. I love you Jesus."You will recall we learnt that the tribunal could not meet that same weekend of the "offence".Rugby Australia wanted to sack Israel Folau for his Christian views.It couldn’t because it was Easter and everyone at Rugby Australia was taking a holiday to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.And when we get to the tribunal stage, and affidavits are sworn, witnesses will take the stand, and, as Bernard Gaynor wrote:"Our legal system, in its zeal for the facts will allow people to swear on the Bible that what they say is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help them God … the same Bible that Israel Folau quoted from … the same Bible that Raelene Castle says is so offensive that merely quoting from it should see one cast, weeping and gnashing their teeth into the exterior darkness … the same Bible (on which) our governors-general and prime ministers take their oath of office."The impotence of rugby leadership has been laid bare. Sporting oblivion beckons.Did anyone note that only 10,000 people attended the Waratahs game at the brand new Bankwest Stadium last Saturday night? The public, fed up with the treatment of Folau, and all else, are voting with their feet and their wallets.Yet what we see may be only the tip of the iceberg because players of similar Christian beliefs to those of Israel are saying, ‘well, you may as well sack all of us because we have the same Christian beliefs as Israel’.I coached Taniela Tupou a couple of years ago in the Barbarians. A wonderful, simple, gentle, God-fearing person.He said on Facebook this week: "I will never apologise for my faith and for what I believe in, religion had nothing to do with rugby."Kerevi, who posted the Christian message at Easter, also said he would not apologise for his faith in Jesus Christ.They are basically saying, sack us or back off Israel.Brisbane-born Billy Vunipola was slapped with a warning, in England, when he supported Israel; but three of his England teammates have stood up and backed Vunipola.Make no mistake, this is a rugby crisis which has morphed into a social crisis which will open gigantic wounds in relation to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.It will be on for young and old. If need be, Israel will take this all the way and he will have no trouble funding any legal challenge.Then I note that Israel, apparently, is not fighting to continue his rugby career in this country because as colleague Wayne Smith writes: "Rugby Australia has made it quite clear that whether he wins the case or loses it, his time with the Wallabies and Waratahs is over".I beg your pardon? So, if the tribunal finds in favour of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, he will be banished anyway.If it finds against him, the matter will go to a higher authority to be heard all over again.Rugby Australia are being represented at the tribunal tomorrow by former solicitor-general Justin Gleeson QC. Talk about pulling out the big guns.Gleeson is among the very best. That means he is among the dearest.So, in order to nail, humiliate, condemn, banish and isolate Israel Folau, Rugby Australia are sparing no expense with money they do not have.The rugby family must ask again, when are this blazer mob going to do the decent thing and resign or be thrown out?They may be in office but they are not in power.We have the unthinkable, where highly paid players are publicly saying who they will play with and who they won’t.Not if I was coaching they wouldn’t. They would be told simply and emphatically that they do not pick the team.Remember, this is the same board of Rugby Australia who axed the Western Force in 2017 to save $6 million when Andrew Forrest was offering the same administration $50m.Now, Raelene Castle, on more than $800,000 a year, backed by the board, has decided that Israel Folau will not play for Australia.To hell with the tribunal. She will be forced to pay out his $4m contract. This is really smart stuff.On the eve of the Rugby World Cup, the administration is at war with its best player; and at war with players from the Pacific islands, who comprise almost half of the Australian team.The place has gone mad.Israel Folau could lose his job for quoting the Bible.Sharing an excerpt from the world’s highest selling book is now discrimination, even though there is not a skerrick of evidence that Israel discriminated against anyone.As Jennifer Oriel wrote in this paper this week, "corporate Australia is turning its back on free speech. Big business is Big Brother. The battle between Australia’s sporting codes (remember the chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission suggested Israel was a poor cultural fit for his game) looks increasingly like cashed-up bullies hunting a Christian."Among the thousands of comments I have received on previous articles, Chris summed it up best, "these are the defining issues of our time’’."Do we keep quiet while the institutions and sport we love are torn apart by virtue-seeking fools … they are in the minority … time to take a stand Australians."Thank god, Jesus and Christianity for giving us your voice, Alan. Sometimes it feels like a lone voice in the swell of the PC media."But the soon to be not-silent majority stand with you."Former prime minister Tony Abbott says it best: "If the silent majority stay silent they can’t expect to remain a majority."Tomorrow, at the tribunal, it is the virtue-signalling administrators of Australian Rugby who must be silenced for good, not Israel Folau.(2) Pacific Islands Rugby Players (1/3 of Australia's team) unite behind Israel Folau Folau case sparks potential Wallabies player divide as Taniela Tupou weighs inUpdated Wed at 6:50pmRugby Australia is facing a potential Polynesian player mutiny after one of the Wallabies' most exciting prospects claimed all Pacific Islanders "might as well just be sacked" owing to their religious beliefs.Key points:Taniela Tupou responded to comments from Reds captain Samu Kerevi relating to a religious post over EasterIsrael Folau faces a Rugby Australia hearing on Saturday over his commentsA third of Australia's last Test line-up of 2018 had a Polynesian backgroundDays out from Israel Folau's attempt to save his multi-million-dollar career at a Rugby Australia (RA) code of conduct hearing, Queensland Reds and Wallabies hooker Taniela Tupou took to Facebook to express his support for the under-fire superstar."Seriously ... Might as well sack me and all the other Pacific Islands rugby players around the world because we have the same Christian beliefs," Tupou posted late on Tuesday night."I will never apologise for my faith and what I believe in, religion had nothing to do with rugby anyways... #TYJ"Tupou, who rose to prominence as a schoolboy player in Auckland and whose signing with Rugby Australia in 2014 was seen as a significant boost to the side, has earned himself the nickname "Tongan Thor" thanks to his incredible strength on the rugby field.The 22-year-old Reds prop attached a link to an earlier post from fellow Wallabies teammate and Reds captain Samu Kerevi, who apologised after taking to Instagram at Easter thanking "Jesus for dying on the cross for me. I love you Jesus#"."I appreciate the kind messages from everyone," Kerevi posted."But to be clear I'm not apologising for my faith in Jesus Christ my saviour."God will always come first in my life and many other professional rugby players."Today, I felt things were taken out of context in regards to certain articles."I do not feel obliged to apologise to people because of the situation happening right now with a brother of mine."Last month RA issued Folau with a breach of contract notice following his latest round of controversial posts.The three-time John Eales Medallist had been previously warned by RA about his social media conduct, and the game's governing body subsequently announced its intention to terminate his contract.Folau was stood down by the NSW Waratahs in the wake of an Instagram post claiming hell awaited "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators" unless they repent and turn to Jesus Christ.Folau will front a three-person tribunal — comprising chair John West, RA's representative Kate Eastman SC and the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA)-appointed John Boultbee SC — on Saturday.However, Folau has since received backing from England star Billy Vunipola, who liked Folau's post and called for people to "live their lives how God intended".Brisbane-born Vunipola was himself slapped with a warning by his English club Saracens over his defence of Folau's post and handed a "formal warning" by the English Rugby Football Union.Vunipola was roundly booed by Munster fans in the European Cup semi-final the weekend after his comments, while England teammate James Haskell said that he was "disappointed" that people had liked Folau's post.Haskell had earlier described Folau's post as "spreading hate" and "the biggest load of s*** I have ever read".However, Vunipola's England teammates, Manu Tuilagi, Nathan Hughes, Courtney Lawes — who wrote his own post defending Vunipola's right to express his opinion — and Wales backrower Taulupe Faletau, all "liked" Vunipola's social media post.A third of Australia's last Test line-up of 2018 had a Polynesian backgroundABC/AAP(3) Folau hearing: Any car that arrived or exited was swamped outweigh answers as Folau hearing extends to second dayBy Tom DecentMay 4, 2019 — 7.39pmIt was billed as one of the most intriguing and landmark days in Australian rugby and it certainly didn’t live up to the hype.We knew a verdict by close of business on Saturday was unlikely in Wallabies star Israel Folau’s code of conduct hearing – for putting on social media that homosexuals were destined for hell – but that didn’t stop anyone with an opinion on the issue pushing for hourly updates.They received bad news as darkness set in – that Folau's hearing is set to drag on to Sunday and a verdict won't be available by the end of the weekend.However, the Herald understands an announcement could come on Sunday outlining the level of Folau's breach, without a punishment itself.It was radio silence as some of the best legal minds in the country picked apart each other’s arguments upstairs at Rugby Australia headquarters in Moore Park on a glorious Saturday afternoon.The public are eager for a result but given what is at stake, there is an understandable reluctance to rush to a conclusion that could see Folau’s multimillion-dollar deal ripped up for a social media post more than three weeks ago that has been the talk of not only Australia but other sections of the globe.Folau is comfortable putting his views in the public domain but did his best to escape a posse of cameras as he arrived at 9am for a potential landmark hearing that could end up in court if – as expected – both sides continue to appeal.A couple of news crews set up camp at 7am, desperate to get a shot of the most polarising figure in Australian sport arrive for D-Day.There were false starts. Everyone was jumpy. Getting the shot was imperative.Just like an opposition winger would say to Folau after he had leaped onto their back and taken a high-flying mark before crossing for another try: "It all happened so quickly."A ritzy black Audi whizzed through flashes of lights and shoulder-to-shoulder journalists down into the underground car park.Folau sat in the back seat and there were no brilliant shots of him but it mattered little. He had fronted to face the music, despite some private concerns he wouldn’t do so.The juxtaposition came when RA boss Raelene Castle and NSW Rugby chief executive Andrew Hore opted to stroll past the cameras and through the front doors before a 9.30 start time.This was certainly not how they wanted to be spending their Saturday, dealing with an issue that has threatened to send the code close to broke, should Folau want a pay-out.If there had been a fly on the wall in the room of the hearing, it wouldn’t have got out of the building alive, such was the appetite for any new information.Sandwiches and muffins provided for the media outside made up for what was a long day for everyone.There was plenty of waiting. Any car that arrived or exited was swamped. Even the building cleaner was made to feel somewhat like a Hollywood A-lister.Aside from the usual suspects, the departure of Wallabies coach Michael Cheika in his own car triggered more camera clicks just before 1pm. He was not expected to front up and give evidence but that is exactly what he did.RA had made it clear a verdict was not expected on the weekend and said Folau would not be present on Sunday. Later, however, it was announced that the player would be there.Folau's car zoomed off down Moore Park Road and into the night once it had edged past more flashes and clicks.It might acutally be the one of the last times he ever sets foot in the building. Time will tell.(4) Rugby Australia faces financial ruin over Israel Folau case Australia reportedly face financial ruin in Israel Folau caseIsrael Folau’s war with Rugby Australia has concluded for the day, but those hanging for a quick result will have to wait days.MAY 4, 20196:32PMIsrael Folau’s war with Rugby Australia has concluded for the day, but a result will not eventuate from the Saturday hearing this weekend as the polarising fullback attempts to save his career.Rugby Australia (RA) announced its intent to terminate Folau’s employment over a breach of contract claim following an April 10 Instagram post that RA claims is a "high level" breach of the sport’s "inclusiveness" commitment as outlined in the players’ code of conduct, agreed to by the players’ union and RA officials in the collective bargaining agreement."It is not expected that any further witnesses will be called to provide evidence on Sunday," a statement from Rugby Australia read."The panel is not expected to deliver its decision tomorrow."Rugby Australia has nothing short of the code’s survival on the line in Folau’s all-encompassing case.Folau argues it is unlawful for the governing body to have moved to tear up his four-year contract, reportedly worth $4 million.Folau arrived in St Leonards on Sydney’s North Shore just after 9am (AEST) to commence what will be a lengthy hearing.According to a report in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, the future of rugby in Australia could be decided if Folau is successful in his challenge of RA’s move to rip up his contract.The report claims Rugby Australia is privately bracing for a $12 million financial loss for the upcoming season — pushing the code to the brink of collapsing.RA would face "financial ruin" if it is forced to face a projected $8 million loss and pay out the full $4 million owed to Folau in his long-term contract.According to The Australian, the legal fees and costs associated with fighting Folau in a conduct hearing and expected follow-up legal challenges through the courts will also cost RA at least $100,000.A full $12 million hit would leave RA "on the precipice of insolvency," according to The Daily Telegraph’s Jamie Pandaram. Folau fiasco could leave Rugby Australia broke(5) 'Rugby Australia failed to get Folau to sign off on the social media clause in his playing contract' …Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has made an intriguing appearance at Rugby Australia (RA) headquarters in Sydney as Israel Folau fights to save his career.Cheika wasn’t expected to make an appearance at the hearing, and certainly not soon.But after saying three weeks ago that he wouldn’t be able to pick Folau for Australia again "as it stands right now", Cheika’s sighting on Saturday raised the prospect of a possible peace offering.Folau arrived at the landmark hearing at 9am, his Audi piercing a posse of TV cameras, photographers and reporters as it made its way through to the underground car park.The dual international is being represented by high-profile solicitor Ramy Quatami and barrister Adam Casselden, who recently worked on the coronial inquest into the murder-suicide of Sydney family Maria Lutz and her children Ellie and Martin at the hands of their father Fernando Manrique in 2016.AMATEUR BLUNDER COULD SAVE FOLAU MILLIONSIsrael Folau has reportedly been armed with a legal loophole that could see his legal team tear down Rugby Australia’s argument that he breached the terms of his contract significantly.Preliminary, widespread reports initially claimed Folau’s contract was terminated on the grounds that his Instagram post breached the terms of his individual playing contract and the players’ code of conduct.It was reported that Folau’s 2018 contract extension included a personalised social media clause that held Folau to a certain standard of acceptable public comments after he last year caused uproar across Australian rugby with social media commentary ahead of the marriage equality vote.It was reported at the time that major sponsor Qantas had threatened to walk away from its multimillion-dollar deal with Rugby Australia unless action was taken to discipline the 30-year-old star.Fresh reports, however, claim Rugby Australia failed to get Folau to sign off on the social media clause in his playing contract, weakening the governing body’s claim that Folau’s social media post constitutes a high-level breach of his contract.Rugby Australia will only be able to lawfully rip up Folau’s contract if the hearing’s independent panel rules Folau’s actions seriously violated the terms of the deal.Pandaram told Fox Sports News on Saturday that Rugby Australia took the extraordinary step of trying to go back to Folau to sign off on the social media clause after he had already signed his contract extension."It looks very bad for them," Pandaram said of the failure to include the clause in Folau’s new contract."You’re talking about a guy who showed he was a liability in the social media space last year, and then you go and sign him up for four years on a $4 million deal. You want to make sure you have everything in place. You need to dot your I’s and cross your T’s across everything. They didn’t."They went back and said, ‘Oh, we need you to sign this with the additional social media clauses,’ and Israel Folau said, ‘Na, I’ve already signed a contract’. That’s what Israel Folau’s lawyers will use."HOW RUGBY’S FUTURE WILL BE DECIDEDThe fate of both Folau and RA now rests in the hands of the three-person panel of chair John West QC, RA representative Kate Eastman SC and the Rugby Union Players’ Association- elected John Boultbee.RA has already declared the p`anel is not expected to deliver a decision on the weekend.A final verdict could in fact take months or even years to reach, according to an employment law expert.Giuseppe Carabetta, from the University of Sydney Business School, described the complex case as a "perfect storm of conflicting religious, corporate sponsorship and moral issues".Folau, 30, was issued with a "high-level" breach notice last month for taking to Instagram to proclaim "hell awaits drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators" unless they repent and turn to Jesus.The three-times John Eales Medallist had been warned last year following a similar post claiming gays were destined for hell, before signing a rich contract extension in October.Folau and his barrister Adam Casselden will argue that RA did not include a specific social media clause in his new contract and that his posts were merely passages from the Bible and not directly his words.RA, to be represented by Justin Gleeson SC, is expected to argue that, regardless of no such apparent clause, Folau seriously breached the governing body’s broader code of conduct policy and its inclusion policy.Point 1.3 of the players’ code of conduct policy says: "Treat everyone equally, fairly and with dignity regardless of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, cultural or religious background, age or disability. Any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination has no place in Rugby".If the tribunal determines that Folau has in fact breached his contract, the panel must then decide if the breach was severe enough to terminate his career. The losing party will have until 72 hours after any decision is handed down to appeal.And even after that, the matter could well drag on for months — or years.— with AAP