Has the backlash over Folau gone too far?

News 08/05/2019

An Australian correspondent has unleashed on those wanting Israel Folau to lose his job for posting homophobic content online.

Last month the Australian rugby star called homosexuals "sinners" that were destined for hell on Twitter and Instagram - the latest in a long line of controversial anti-gay remarks from Folau.

His posts have been the subject of an Rugby Australia (RA) hearing since Saturday, with the panel announcing on Tuesday he had breached the sport's code of conduct.

No penalty had yet been given down, but it is possible Folau's contract will be terminated.

Appearing on The AM Show on Wednesday, Australian correspondent Jason Morrison said things had gone too far.

Here is a guy who has got the principle to stand by his belief

"Who may have beliefs that are considered radical by some and for others are worshipped," he said.

"Yet he has been brought down because his crime has been to repeat something which is so broad, so insulting to so many people, but actually could be taken for triviality and stupidity online and is looking towards bringing the end of his career."

Morrison said Folau is a master player with international recognition beyond just fans of the game and losing him would hurt RA and the sport of rugby union in general.

While there may have been a moment where everyone understood why Folau was being criticised, he said there was a backlash brewing from the public who just want to watch the game - not see it influenced by social media comments, religion or people likened to a "lynch mob".

The farce of all this is that it is going to cost everyone a fortune

"It is going to cost the sport in Australia an extraordinary amount because I can feel this turning... there is a sense about 'all of this, we are going to bring a bloke's career to an end for this'?"

"They have managed to find a way to destroy all of this and at the very same time demonstrated they too have been sucked into the very thing that is polarising people in your country and my country, this kind of stand over, motherhood, pointing at you, what you can and can't do, kind of nanny state environment."

The RA panel is now accepting written submissions while it considered what sanctions to enforce.

The AM Show / Newshub reporter Jamie Ensor