Former Australian rugby player Israel Folau is not going down quietly as he has now demanded US$9.5m as compensation from Rugby Australia after being sacked earlier this year.
Earlier this year in May the former Wallaby fullback was found guilty of breaching Rugby Australia’s code of conduct when he made some serious homophobic statements leading to the termination of his 4 year contract that would have netted him just over US$2.5m.
Israel posted on Instagram that “hell awaits” homosexuals and other groups o people he consideres sinners.
Israel who claims to be a devout Christian is suing Rugby Australia for wrongful termination based on his religious beliefs. Not only was he sacked but lost his role as brand ambassador for sportswear company ASICS.
Rugby Australia was also under pressure from their major sponsors Qantas, who’s CEO Alan Joyce is openly gay.
Folau was once again in the headlines after he related Australia’s on-going bush fires as punishment for the county’s stance on same-sex marriage and abortion.
Israel claims to have come up with this exorbitant figure based on projected earning as he believed he would have become the Wallabies captain as well lost sponsorship deals.
Israel has divided much of Australia with his high profile case which if taken to the Supreme Court could have serious legal ramifications on freedom of expression.
In May, Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle came out reprimanding Israel over his homophobic remarks. She came out stating that :
“When we say rugby is a game for all, we mean it. People need to feel safe and welcomed in our game regardless of their gender, race, background, religion, or sexuality.”
There is a lot of speculation on whether Rugby Australia can afford to lose such a high profile case as the legal costs would have significant ramifications for them.