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‘I don’t say this lightly’: First openly gay NRL player’s poignant message for Israel Folau

Israel Folau

As Israel Folau’s Code of Conduct hearing with Rugby Australia continues into its second day, the first NRL player to openly come out as gay has delivered an emotional message to Folau and those who support his views on homosexuality.

Speaking on Channel 9’s Sports Sunday, Ian Roberts delivered a hard truth about the consequences of Folau’s words.

“I feel sorry for Israel but there are consequences to your actions,” Roberts said.

“I don’t say this lightly and what I’m about to say – the language I use – is hard and it’s for a point, it’s to get that message across.

“There are literally kids in the suburbs killing themselves and I say that with the greatest sense of respect and I’m not saying that Israel is responsible solely for that.

“But it’s these types of comments and these types of off-the-cuff remarks when you have young people and vulnerable people who are dealing with their sexuality, confused, not knowing how to deal with it.

“These types of remarks can – and do – push people over the edge.”

The hearing has stretched into its second day it is still unclear if a result on the matter is forthcoming. The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that an announcement could be made on Sunday outlining details Folau’s breach, rather than any punishment.

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph is reporting that Folau and his management team rejected a $1 million settlement offer from Rugby Australia made prior to the Code of Conduct hearing getting underway.

Why this offer was rejected is unclear, but some believe it’s an indication that Folau’s legal team is confident of winning the case and retaining his $4 million contract, or perhaps reaching a larger settlement.

The hearing continues.

Israel Folau