Channel 4 drops rugby star Billy Vunipola after homophobia row

14 April, 2019, 04:43 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Israel Folau

'Our joint position regarding Israel Folau is unchanged'.

Folau said on Wednesday that "hell awaits" homosexuals in comments that have resulted in Rugby Australia stating they plan to terminate his contract.

England global Billy Vunipola has been axed by Channel 4 after he came out on social media and backed Israel Folau following the Australian's controversial homophobic post.

Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp said Shabow removed the post prior to his management being contacted about the issue and moved to distance the club from Folau.

He began his career at Western Sydney Wanderers in 2015 and played twice for the senior team before moving on to the Jets, where he managed seven matches.

Vunipola took to his own Instagram account to explain why he had "liked" Folau's post, claiming his beliefs had been insulted but that he did not "hate" anyone.

Vunipola said he had been told by three people to withdraw his apparent support to Folau's post.

"Rugby is an inclusive sport", an RFU spokeswoman said in an email.

"Saracens proudly embraces diversity and warmly welcomes everyone to the club regardless of race, gender, religion and sexual orientation", it read.

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"As representatives and role models Saracens players have a responsibility not only to themselves but to the club and wider society". I just think he's saying what he honestly believes.

It is not the first time that the Australian worldwide has expressed such an opinion. We want to make it clear that he does not speak for the game with his recent social media posts.

Reaction to Rugby Australia's decision was mixed, with many supportive of the strong leadership shown and others criticising the organisation for what they viewed as an infringement on Folau's freedom of religious expression.

Folau posted a photo on Instagram earlier this week, with the message: "Warning".

Following his latest social media posts Rugby Australia and Rugby New South Wales terminated his playing contract.

Folau also posted similar comments past year, for which he was not sanctioned by RA, although he did acknowledge he had caused "grief to some people".

'Following today's meeting the two organisations will update their respective Boards on the matter to consider next steps.

With Folau, known for his aerial prowess, looking likely to miss the World Cup, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has a big hole to fill.

Last weekend, he broke the Super Rugby try-scoring record, racking up his 60th in the Waratahs' defeat to the Blues.



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