‘Dan­ger­ous’ com­ments ‘can kill’

The Southland Times - - SPORT -

New Zealand Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment and for­mer sport­ing star Louisa Wall is con­cerned at the ef­fect Is­rael Fo­lau’s on­go­ing con­dem­na­tion of ho­mo­sex­u­als could have on young gay peo­ple.

The 46-year-old Wall, a for­mer Black Fern and Sil­ver Fern who was a driv­ing force be­hind the suc­cess­ful le­gal­is­ing of same-sex mar­riage in New Zealand, be­lieves Fo­lau’s views are dan­ger­ous.

Fo­lau, the Aus­tralian rugby player who also starred in the NRL and AFL, has re­it­er­ated his views in a lengthy on­line ar­ti­cle fol­low­ing a tweet that drew out­rage when he said gay peo­ple were des­tined for hell ‘‘un­less they re­pent of their sins and turn to God’’.

‘‘I’m sure he’d be dis­tressed to know his com­ments can kill, and they kill be­cause young peo­ple feel de­spair be­cause [they feel] there’s some­thing wrong with them, and they should take their own lives,’’ Wall told 1 News yes­ter­day fol­low­ing Fo­lau’s re­in­force­ment of his be­liefs.

‘‘He doesn’t re­ally re­alise that what he’s said lit­er­ally means to a gay per­son that there’s some­thing wrong with you, and you should suf­fer for the rest of your life un­less you re­pent.

‘‘He needs to re­flect on his role as a pub­lic fig­ure, and what he says and how it in­flu­ences, par­tic­u­larly young peo­ple.’’

Fo­lau still ap­pears to be at odds with his rugby bosses, ex­press­ing dis­ap­point­ment at how Aus­tralian Rugby chief ex­ec­u­tive Rae­lene Cas­tle had rep­re­sented his po­si­tion to the me­dia fol­low­ing her meet­ing with him last week.

Wall be­lieves Aus­tralia’s na­tional rugby or­gan­i­sa­tion should have taken a firmer stance given its pre­vi­ous sup­port of gay rights, feel­ing Fo­lau had brought the game into dis­re­pute

‘‘I’m in­cred­i­bly dis­ap­pointed in his stance, be­cause of how sup­port­ive Aus­tralian Rugby was with the mar­riage equal­ity de­bate in Aus­tralia – es­pe­cially sup­port­ive of diver­sity and in­clu­sion,’’ Wall, the Labour MP for Ma­nurewa, told 1 News.

‘‘I would have thought in their con­tracts, that play­ers have clauses that they must not bring the game into dis­re­pute.

‘‘I would have thought that say­ing a group of Aus­tralians, or a group of peo­ple in the world are wrong and they’re go­ing to suf­fer for the rest of their lives, and us­ing the hell anal­ogy, has bought the game into dis­re­pute.’’

Louisa Wall, MP for Ma­nurewa.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.