January 28, 2020
Israel Folau, the rugby league player who was sacked after writing on social media that “hell” awaited “homosexuals”, will find himself knee-deep in rainbows as his new club battles Wigan Warriors.
Israel Folau: Rugby Player Sacked Over Homophobic Posts Will Face Rainbow Display At New Club Clash
The Wigan side announced its March 22 fixture against Catalans Dragons, who controversially signed Folau on a one-year deal, would now be a “Pride Day” for which players will wear rainbow laces and socks.
Local and national LGBTQ groups will also be invited to the round six fixture.
Wigan Warriors executive director, Kris Radlinski, said in a statement: “Here at Wigan Warriors we are committed to the core values of inclusion and respect.
“Our community foundation have a long history of supporting local LGBTQ+ groups and initiatives, and we want everyone who engages with our game to feel welcome, valued and, most of all, respected.
“Rugby league has a strong history of inclusion, of breaking down barriers and of being a forward-thinking sport. I think today more than any day that it is vitally important we reiterate that message. We’re looking forward to working with charities, local and hopefully national groups, to make this day a success.”
French club Catalans Dragons said they wanted to give Folau, who has not played either code of rugby since being sacked by Rugby Australia last year, a “new opportunity to shine”.
In April 2019, the player – a devout Christian – told his 300,000 followers: “Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators – hell awaits you.”
His contract was binned and, weeks later, a Rugby Australia panel hearing found him in breach of its code of conduct.
Folau claimed his intention was “not to hurt anyone”.
He also attracted fury late last year after claiming that deadly bushfires and a devastating drought in Australia were a punishment from god for the country’s acceptance of same-sex marriage and abortion. 
The 30-year-old was told he would not be able to play rugby again in his home country, but the Rugby Football League has confirmed it will not prevent his registration with the Dragons.Related... Former Australian Rugby Star Condemned After Claiming Bushfires Are A 'Little Taste Of God's Judgement'
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