For most of us, today is a regular Tuesday in June. But for former rugby star Israel Folau, it’s a day where he’s making roughly $1000 a minute.
On average, every hour, he’s made about $50,000.
That’s what some Australian workers earn in a year.
Why is he earning hundreds of thousands of dollars so rapidly? Because he’s being persecuted. Because he’s being discriminated against. Because Australia won’t allow him his freedom. Because he’s not allowed to share his religious views.
That’s why everyday Australians have broken fundraising records to give him his voice. Because his voice (the same one asking for money) is being dangerously silenced.
Folau’s fight started in April this year, when he shared a biblical passage on Instagram stating that hell awaited “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters” unless they repented.
He was notified that the post constituted a “high-level breach” of the player code of conduct, outlined in his contract, and in early May he appeared in front of a Rugby Australia panel.
After the hearing, it was decided that Folau’s four-year contract would be terminated.
Change.org executive director Sally Rugg on Israel Folau. Post continues below video.
“We want to stress that this outcome is a painful situation for the game,” Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said at the time.
“Rugby Australia did not choose to be in the situation, but Rugby Australia’s position remains that Israel, through his actions, left us with no choice but to pursue the course of action resulting in today’s outcome.”
Folau has made it clear that he wishes to fight the decision, and last week, he launched a GoFundMe page asking Australians for money to fund the rest of his action in court.
“Rugby was my livelihood,” the page read.
“Earlier this year, I uploaded some messages from the Bible on my Instagram page.
“I know some people do not like or believe in the Bible. Indeed, what makes our country so wonderful is that we have such a diverse community made up of so many different cultures and values. But my faith defines me as a person. I do not believe that it is fair or right that I be punished for my religious beliefs.
“I have lost my job, my livelihood, and the ability to play for my country. It looks like I will never be allowed to play rugby in this country again.”
Folau stated that he had started legal proceedings against Rugby Australia and Rugby NSW, which could take years to unfold. “My wife Maria and I have already spent over $100,000 of our own money,” he wrote.