Rugby Fans Ordered to Remove Pride Flags at Israel Folau’s Debut Game

Israel Folau (in yellow) appears poised to return to professional rugby (image via Flickr/DavidMolloy – CC license)

Israel Folau, a rugby player who has a history of spewing out homophobic comments, felt the wrath of the LGBTQ community during his debut game with his new team on Saturday, February 15.

The player, who was sacked from the New South Wales Waratahs and Australia’s national team last year after claiming that “hell awaits” gay people, started with France-based RFL Super League team Catalans Dragons over the weekend and was met with resistance by some of the spectators on the sidelines.

During the match a security official asked a fan to remove a rainbow Pride flag that was draped over a railing. They appeared to suggest that it was covering up some of the advertising for the French stadium. But wait… there’s more. Other people who carried Pride flags to protest Folau were also asked to remove them. 

The Catalan Dragons were destroyed on social media after Israel made his debut over their decision to hire him based on his very homophobic background.

For those not in the know, Folau has a long history of angering the LGBTQ community and its supporters. He tweeted his opposition of same-sex marriage in September 2017 (that tweet is still live on his page). He was also one of Australia’s highest-paid athletes before being sacked for social media posts that declared homosexuals are destined for hell.

In 2018 he wrote a column for Athlete’s Voice where he denied the homophobic accusations against him. “Since my social media posts were publicized, it has been suggested that I am homophobic and bigoted and that I have a problem with gay people,” he said. “This could not be further from the truth.”

“I fronted the cover of the Star Observer magazine to show my support for the Bingham Cup, which is an international gay rugby competition for both men and women. I believe in inclusion. In my heart, I know I do not have any phobia towards anyone.”

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