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Israel Folau

Baiting Israel: why Folau isn’t a villain

When rugby star Israel Folau posted on social media that 'hell' awaits homosexuals, the outroar was immense.

The Wallaby wrote that gay people were "destined for hell unless they repent" on an Instagram post.

The resulted in meetings with Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle and NSW Rugby counterpart Andrew Hore, although no formal punishment was handed down.

Folau will not be changing his views, but Castle said he had learned a lesson how to deliver his messages in the future.

"I think Israel has acknowledged that maybe he could have put a positive spin on that same message and done it in a more respectful way," she said.

That has done little to douse the flames, though, with the backlash coming from all corners.

But is Israel really to blame here?

Folau has form on the board

Israel Folau is a devout Christian. That is on the record, common knowledge.

With that religious stance, come views that are not always popular.

At the height of the Plebiscite over gay marriage last year, Folau Tweeted that he would not support it.

"I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. but personally, I will not support gay marriage." He Tweeted.

That simple message went viral and supporters of equality united against Folau.

But it was water off a duck's back for Folau.

"It doesn’t affect me at all. Everything’s good from my end," he said in the aftermath.

How we are baiting Folau to generate headlines

Following the gay marriage social media post, Australians became well versed in what Israel Folau's stance on the issue was.

He is a devout christian, doesn't support it but respects the opinions and decisions of everyone.

So some six months after that Tweet, the issue had seemingly been put to bed.

But then someone had to bait Folau. They went to his Instagram and challenged him directly.

Folau had posted a religious meme outlining god's plan and how it presented more challenges than your own.

Instagram user mike_septhon replied to this meme with: "@izzyfolau what was gods plan for gay people??"

That was when Israel Folau made his controversial 'hell' statement, in response to a direct question.

It needs to be pointed out that Folau is not actively campaigning against gay people or their rights.

He doesn't even post about it on social media since last year's firestorm. He was asked a question, he responded.

It is like whacking a bees nest and complaining about being stung by a bee.

If people don't like what Folau has to say, then they probably shouldn't be asking him. But, it has made Israel Folau a walking headline and it's a cheap trick to generate faux outrage.

We know Folau's views aren't in line with the majority of society. But if you don't want to hear him say it, don't whack the nest.

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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