Australian rugby officials said Thursday that they intend to discontinue the contract of a star player over a homophobic social media post he shared earlier this week.  

Israel Folau, a devout Christian who plays for the New South Wales Waratahs and Rugby Australia, on Wednesday shared an image on Instagram that said "hell awaits" "drunks," "adulterers," "atheists" and "homosexuals." 

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Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19‭-‬21 KJV _______________ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38 KJV _______________ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30 KJV _______________

A post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on

Raelene Castle, the chief executive of Rugby Australia, and Andrew Hore, the chief executive of New South Wales Rugby Union, said in a joint statement just a day later that they intended to terminate Folau's multimillion-dollar contract unless there were "compelling mitigating factors" in regards to why he shared the post. 


“Whilst Israel is entitled to his religious beliefs, the way in which he has expressed these beliefs is inconsistent with the values of the sport,” the two executives said. "We want to make it clear that he does not speak for the game with his recent social media posts."

"Israel has failed to understand that the expectation of him as a Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs employee is that he cannot share material on social media that condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality," the statement continued. 

The statement noted that the clubs have made repeated attempts to get in contact with Folau since he shared the Instagram post and that he has yet to respond. 

The move from the Wallabies and the Waratahs comes just months after Folau signed a four-year, multimillion-dollar contract to remain with the clubs, The New York Times reported. Folau, who first signed with the teams in 2013, is fourth-highest try-scorer in the Australian national team's history. 

He's also been named the winner of the John Eales Medal for best Australian rugby player three times. 

The Times noted that Folau is an ex-Mormon who is now a member of the Pentecostal denomination Assemblies of God. He has a history of making homophobic and transphobic remarks. 

In April 2018, he said on Instagram that gay people would end up in "hell" as part of God's plan. The comment led Rugby Australia to issue him a warning at the time.