Originally published in Christian Today
Christian rugby player Israel Folau says his “head is held high” after being found guilty of breaching Rugby Australia’s player code of conduct.
The Waratahs full-back was stood down by RA last month after posting a photo to Instagram saying “hell awaits” gay people.
He now faces the sack after a panel concluded on Tuesday that he had committed a “high level breach” of RA’s player code of conduct.
Soon after the verdict was announced, athletics label Asics said it was cancelling his sponsorship deal.
“We champion inclusivity and diversity,” the brand said in a statement.
“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“As such, our partnership with Israel has become untenable and he will no longer represent Asics as a brand ambassador.”
Land Rover has also withdrawn a car issued to him.
Australian radio broadcaster Alan Jones said on his 2GB programme that he had reached out to Folau and told him to keep his head up.
“I have just had a note from Israel, he won’t mind if I’m sharing it with you because I said to him: ‘hold your head up’,” Jones said.
“He said: ‘Alan, I’m at peace mate. My head is held high’.”
His family have defended him following the intense backlash over his post.
His father Eni Folau, a church pastor, told the 7News network on Monday: “Israel does not do any wrong at all, all the words he posted doesn’t come from him, it comes from the Bible.”
His cousin, Josiah Folau, said: “The important thing for us is not so much the outcome, but how the glory of God is revealed throughout this situation and that his truth is preached to the whole world.”