Australian rugby star axed for refusing to back down on religious beliefs
Christian rugby player Israel Folau was kicked out of the sport by Australia’s rugby authorities on 15 April after posting that homosexuals are sinners who must repent or go to hell.
Folau, a key international player with 73 caps, was given 48 hours to accept his sacking or face a Code of Conduct hearing.
Rugby Australia said the 30-year-old "had committed a high-level breach of the Professional Players' Code of Conduct warranting termination of his employment contract", the BBC reported.
Folau has attracted criticism for repeatedly defending the Scriptures in a robust and, some say, controversial way on social media.
Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said, "It was made clear to him that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action."
On 10 April, Folau posted an image on Instagram that declared "hell awaits” drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters.
The image’s caption read: "Those that are living in sin will end up in hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him."
The post prompted Rugby Australia to make a statement on 11 April to announce he would be axed.