Folau refuses to back down
Wallabies star Israel Folau has spoken for the first time since tweeting his opposition to samesex marriage and says he will stand firm on what he believes despite a wave of criticism.
It comes as Folau made the startling claim that he doesn’t feel he is playing anywhere near his potential despite scoring 11 tries in eight matches this year and being on track to break the try-scoring world record.
Three weeks ago, before Australia’s last match against Argentina in Canberra, Folau created a storm by expressing his opposition to gay marriage on social media.
‘‘I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions,’’ Folau tweeted. ‘‘But personally, I will not support gay marriage.’’
It prompted a national debate, given Folau was the first highprofile athlete to express his support for the ‘‘no’’ vote in one of the most polarising issues in Australian society.
Folau has been reluctant to speak to the media since the tweet. During an interview in Argentina ahead of Australia’s clash today with the Pumas, the Wallabies fullback was asked if he wanted to comment further.
‘‘I’m going to stand firm on what I’ve already said,’’ Folau replied. ‘‘That’s what I believe. I guess it doesn’t change anything for me and my mindset is still first-hand with what’s going on here with the Wallabies. It hasn’t really had an effect on me at all, so I stand firm on what I believe in and what I said.’’
Clearly the circus surrounding Folau in recent weeks has little if any effect on his on-field performances as he closes in on one of world rugby’s most prestigious records.
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