Israel Folau will be confronted with an awkward dilemma if he’s part of a Southport Tigers victory this winter.
While announcing his return to Australian sport on Friday morning, the controversial cross-code footballer was taken aback by a reporter’s question regarding the team song.
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Rugby Australia dumped Folau in 2019 after the former Wallaby posted “hell awaits … homosexuals” on his Instagram account.
Following a one-year stint with Super League side Catalans Dragons, the 32-year-old revealed he had signed with amateur club Southport Tigers in the Gold Coast’s A-Grade rugby league competition.
The mining company of billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer is sponsoring the move, which is pending approval from Queensland Rugby League.
But at Friday’s press conference, one reporter asked Folau for his thoughts on the team’s song lyrics, which reportedly features the line: “What do we want? Lesbians on our faces.”
I wonder if @IzzyFolau will sing the Southport Tigers team song when they win… which includes this line “we want lesbians on our faces..” can’t wait for this 9am media conference with Folau and @CliveFPalmer
Folau: “I’ve just signed with the club. I have no idea about what the song is.”
Palmer: “I’ve been a player, been there for 50 years, and I haven’t heard it. It sounds like a beat-up … I just don’t think it’s true.
Reporter: “I’ve spoken to multiple people who have said that it’s a song that they sing at the end of each game.”
Palmer: “Well I don’t think it is … I was in the dressing room last Sunday, they weren’t singing any songs. I think it’s just sensationalism.”
According to Channel 7 journalist Bianca Stone, the club’s players don’t intend to stop singing the anthem because of the high-profile signing.
The Southport Tigers have been contacted by news.com.au for comment.
Israel Folau and Clive Palmer during a media conference in Brisbane.Source:News Corp Australia
The Southport Tigers released a statement on Friday morning: “Israel is excited to have the opportunity to play alongside his two brothers for the first time in their careers.
“He is looking forward to getting back on the field to play the game he loves, and to give back to the game at a grassroots level.”
Meanwhile, QRL released a statement confirming it had received Folau’s application for registration.
“QRL is currently considering the Tigers’ application, in line with its rules and processes that govern the registration of players,” the statement read.
“An update will be provided when the process is complete.”
Folau: I stand by the bible
Speaking to reporters on Friday morning, Folau thanked Jesus Christ for the opportunity to sign with the Tigers — a club his brothers represent and Palmer is a patron of.
“I just want to give thanks to my lord and saviour Jesus Christ for this opportunity,” Folau said.
“I am excited to be here and link up with Clive. The opportunity he’s given me and my family is something I’m really grateful for.”
When asked about the homophobic social media posts which derailed his rugby union career two years ago, Folau responded: “As a Christian I stand by the bible and what the bible says.
“Every written word that’s written in that book, I stand by that. That’s all I say about that,
“As I said, I believe what the bible says. And it’s clear. I didn’t write the bible. That’s God’s written and I believe that wholeheartedly.
“You’ve got to read the bible in context. You ask me all these questions but have you read the bible?”
Israel Folau could be back playing rugby league by next weekend.Source:News Corp Australia
Palmer: Folau’s social media posts ‘nothing extraordinary’
Palmer was also questioned about Folau’s controversial social media activity which saw the former Wallaby lose his contract with RA.
“I don’t know what his views are, all I know is that he’s placed on Twitter or something a quote from the bible and I know the bible is used every day and quoted in churches right across Australia,” Palmer replied.
“I know when we go to parliament, many parliamentarians refer to texts in the bible. I know when you go to court you swear by putting your hand on the bible.
“For me, it’s nothing extraordinary that someone makes a quote from the bible.
“It shouldn’t affect someone’s livelihood and how he can support his children.”
Palmer also claimed he would take legal action against QRL if the governing body does not approve his registration.
“My commitment is rock solid. I will pledge every cent, dollar and waking moment of my time to make sure he takes the field again,” he said.
“If people want to challenge him legally and say things that aren’t right – watch out.
“We want an example where people of all faiths can play sport. Religious freedom is a fundamental right in this country.
“I’ve got some resources and if it got down to a legal battle, I’m sure anyone opposing somebody on the basis of religious persecution would go down very seriously and pay damages. There’s no legal basis to not register him, he’s been cleared by the Broncos.”
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