Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - All Blacks past and present slam Folau anti-gay comments



All Blacks past and present slam Folau anti-gay comments

Australia fullback Israel Folau runs with the ball during their Rugby Championship match with South Africa in Brisbane on September 10, 2016. AFP
Australia fullback Israel Folau runs with the ball during their Rugby Championship match with South Africa in Brisbane on September 10, 2016. AFP

All Blacks past and present slam Folau anti-gay comments

All Black halfback TJ Perenara has become the highest-profile rugby player to condemn Wallaby Israel Folau’s anti-gay comments, with New Zealand legend Michael Jones also saying he disagreed with the Australian player’s stance.

Perenara, who shares Polynesian heritage with Folau, said homophobic remarks from an athlete of Folau’s stature were particularly hurtful to young Maori and Pacific islanders struggling with their identity.

“You don’t need to look far to know that young Maori/PI are overrepresented in youth suicide statistics and, as I understand it, even more so when you look to those who are part of the Rainbow community,” he tweeted late Wednesday.

“Comments that cause further harm cannot be tolerated.”

The 45-Test All Black added: “As professional rugby players, whether we like it or not, we are role models for a lot of young people.”

Folau wrote on social media this month that God’s plan for gay people was hell unless they repent their sins.

He later explained that his remarks were prompted by deeply held religious beliefs and Rugby Australia decided against sanctioning him.

‘Dumb jock card is history’

Jones, the loose forward who fired the All Blacks to victory in the inaugural World Cup in 1987, said his own faith did not prevent him from accepting gays.

A devout Christian from a Polynesian background who refused to play on Sundays during his international career, Jones urged ‘wisdom’ from Folau.

“There’s members of my family from those [gay] communities and we love them, they’re integral in our lives and they’re a big part of who we are,” he told reporters.

“Being able to express yourself is important, but doing it respectfully, with wisdom. There needs to be a lot of love and grace, particularly as Christians.”

Waikato Chiefs back Brad Weber became the first player to challenge Folau about his comments this week, saying they left him disgusted.

Perenara said young people should ignore them and realise: “It’s OK to be you; you are perfect as you are.”

“I am 100 percent against the comments that were made by Israel. It was not OK to say that,” he tweeted.

“It’s not an attitude I want to see in the game I love.”

New Zealand Herald rugby writer Gregor Paul welcomed the fact that players now felt comfortable calling out intolerance, rather than shying away from controversy.

“The dumb jock card may now be consigned to history, no longer valid or appropriate for players to use,” he wrote.

“They are professional athletes some of the time, but human all of the time and because of that, players have the same responsibility as everyone else to speak out against wrongdoing.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The