Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Israel- The Exodus?

Folau contemplating the loss of $4,000,000

I seem to be doing a lot of updates lately. Must be the new meds. Perhaps if I cut down on the green pills and supplement them with the red ones everything will be tickety boo? Moving on. First off, I've been a tad naive in thinking the northern hemisphere has not heard of Israel Folau. He appears to be quite famous in the world of rugby. I missed this because I do not follow the game. In fact, I had not heard of said gentleman before the media furore a few weeks ago.

My son raised a practical and pertinent point when I discussed the issue with him. He pointed out that the rugby authorities were probably not particularly bothered by the homophobic rant as such but more bothered by how the situation would affect their sponsors and ultimately their revenue. They were worried that sponsors and advertisers would decamp leaving them in the financial pit of doom, or despond depending on perspective. When examined under this light, the response by the governing rugby authority is very understandable and practical, but not commendable. Sadly, the laws of economics trump/stump 'free speech'.

The drama has taken a new turn in the last couple of days. A gaggle of Island players (Taniela Tupou, Billy Vunipola, Curtis Rona) has come out in support of Israel. I am sure there are other Islander players waiting on the wings undecided. The Pacific Islanders are well renowned for their adherence to a peculiar and fundamental flavour of Christianity. To sophisticated Western eyes, it is literal, paternalistic and primitive. More in tune with the Old Testament injunction of smiting and gnashing of teeth rather than Jesus' proclamation of love and peace. As I recall, Jesus was silent on the act of buggery, but considering that he professed to be a devout Jew it is likely that he would have considered homosexuality an abomination in the sight of Lord. I'm starting to digress. And apparently, there is word afoot that Pacific Island players are considering a boycott. I'm sure this represents a worry for the relevant rugby authorities and fans alike. Mayhap the 'boys' have one eye on their religious beliefs and another on their lucrative contracts. Israel has also received an unlikely boost from an English rugby player, Courtney Lawes. However, Mr Lawe's support, like mine, is not of the religious persuasion but revolves around the nutty problem of free expression in a free society. Also, there is an online petition gathering momentum on social media. This, of course, will do no practical good.

The plot thickens. Mr Folau has challenged his termination of contract by the Australian Rugby body and has engaged a prominent lawyer in an effort to save his career. A Code of Conduct hearing was held last Saturday and is likely to extend until Wednesday. As a counterpoint, a number of Israel's teammates (go the Wallabies) are reportedly considering their own boycott if he wins his case to play again.

The whole affair is getting rather messy and expensive and, regardless of the result, tis likely to be highly damaging to Australian rugby.

Don't worry folks, I'm not going to make a habit of reporting the antics of 'sports stars' in the future. In this instance, I made an exception due to the impact the story is having in Australia and New Zealand. Rugby in this part of the world is not so much a sport but an activity sewn into the fabric of life and culture itself. Arse.  


  1. Streisand effect. Sort of.

    1. Perhaps Mr D. The whole affair is certainly getting a lot of coverage in this part of the world.