Sponsors drop Super Rugby’s all-time leading try-scorer Folau over homophobic post

Super Rugby’s all-time leading try-scorer Israel Folau has been dropped by Asics in response to homophobic social media posts he published last month.

The sportswear company is a personal sponsor for Folau as well as the Wallabies and has acted after the 30-year-old was found to have committed a high-level breach of Rugby Australia’s code of conduct.

“Asics is dedicated to sport and its healthy contribution to society,” a company statement read. “We believe sport is for everyone and we champion inclusivity and diversity.

“While Israel Folau is entitled to his personal views, some of those expressed in recent social media posts are not aligned with those of Asics.

As such, our partnership with Israel has become untenable and he will no longer represent Asics as a brand ambassador.” Asics is the second sponsor to have cut ties with Folau after Land Rover withdrew a car issued to him.

Facing suspension

The 30-year-old devout Christian posted on Instagram that “hell awaits” for “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators”.

Folau is facing a suspension and/or a fine. The sanction is not expected to be handed down for several days, with Rugby Australia not offering a timetable for any decision.

Folau has the right of appeal. Should he be sacked, Folau – Super Rugby’s all-time leading try-scorer and a 73-Test stalwart for the Wallabies – would be the first Australian athlete dismissed for expressing fundamental religious beliefs.

The three-person panel which presided over Folau’s hearing will now take written submissions from the player and RA before deciding what sanction he will face.

He escaped punishment for similar comments last year. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has said Folau is unlikely to be selected for Australia again. In addition to his rugby union career, Folau has also played professional rugby league and Australian rules football.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *