Ryan Bridge: Why nobody should be offended by Israel Folau

Opinion 11/04/2019

A man who runs and throws balls around a paddock for a living has told the internet that gays, fornicators and adulterers are destined for hell.

Some gays, fornicators and adulterers are upset about this and would like this man’s bosses to stop paying him for playing around in the paddock.

Others have gone further and think that the paddock man should get in trouble with the police.

There are five reasons nobody should be offended by Israel Folau and nothing should be done about his comments:

 First of all hell is not a real place. 

Being offended by the idea that you are destined for an imaginary land is as daft as being offended by the idea Santa won’t visit Christian kids this Christmas. Santa’s not real and neither is hell. No matter whom the target of this type of warning; religious groups, homosexuals or certain races, there are no real-world consequences for them.

Next, Israel Folau is a paddock man who throws balls around.

He’s a rugby player, a bloody great one at that. He’s not a priest, a politician or a policeman. He is not elected to represent our views. He’s just good at footy and shouldn’t be held up as a saint who’s opinions, preferences and off-field behaviour are to be modelled.

Besides, you don’t even have to listen to him.

Isn’t that the great thing about the internet and social media? You can block him. Outrage over!

Anyway, It doesn't count as hate speech

It’s not hate speech because it does not incite violence. Also, refer to point one above.

Finally, young people should be able to discern between a good person and a bad comment.

Some say Isarael Folau’s views inform and brainwash the impressionable minds of young people. Well, they shouldn’t. It’s a parent’s job to help their kids think for themselves and think critically. They should challenge and ponder the views of those they might look up to as ‘role models’ because not everyone is perfect. Everybody, from politicians to policemen to rugby players can say and do stupid stuff.

To the bosses of the paddock man who’s really good at his job, please don’t fire him.

To those wanting paddock man flogged, arrested or sued, please just don’t follow him.  

To the rest of you, let’s just keep things in perspective and remember that this man is one man.

His views don’t define a sport and his comments, while stupid and misguided, should not really offend anybody.

Ryan Bridge is host of Magic Talk Drive.