Referee Nigel Owens Has His Say On The Sacking Of Israel Folau
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Openly gay referee Nigel Owens has had his say on Rugby Australia’s decision to sack Israel Folau following his latest homophobic outburst on social media.
The Welshman reckons Australia’s governing body has little option but to terminate Folau’s four-year deal, pointing out that it’s “quite clear” rugby is a “place for everybody.”
Owens believes Rugby Australia has sent a clear message – we respect your beliefs, but there’s a line you “do not cross”, and Folau has done exactly that in his outspoken comments.
“Rugby is an inclusive sport. It’s inclusive for all shapes and sizes, for whatever the colour of your skin is, for whatever your religious beliefs are or whatever your sexual orientation,” Owens told Sky Sports News on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
“Rugby is quite clear there is a place for everybody in the sport and rightly so.”
“It [Folau’s situation] is a sorry state but I think Rugby Australia acted in the only way that they could.”
“And they have sent a clear message to people that ‘look, we respect you are different, you have your different beliefs and that’s fine and there’s a place for you in rugby but there is a line that you do not cross when you portray those beliefs as outspokenly as he has done.”
“When people do say these hateful words like that – that you’re going to go to hell because you are different to them because of your sexuality, then that causes a lot of hurt,”
“And young people going through that difficult time in their lives when they do hear languages like that from anybody – but particularly from somebody in a position of influence like that – it can really do a lot of damage and cause a lot of hurt.”