Super League’s first openly gay player has slammed the decision of the Rugby Football League to allow Catalans Dragons to sign Israel Folau.
Wakefield Trinity prop Keegan Hirst said he was shocked and disappointed at news of Folau’s signing following his sacking by Rugby Australia last year for homophobic comments he made on Instagram.
I’m shocked and disappointed at the signing of @IzzyFolau. Our great game is tasked with fighting against homophobia and standing up for the values it puts such high stock in. It shows none of the bravery, cameraderie or integrity @rfl expects from its players, staff and fans
— Keegan Hirst (@KeeganHirst) January 28, 2020
“Our great game is tasked with fighting against homophobia and standing up for the values it puts such high stock in,” Hirst tweeted.
“It shows none of the bravery, camaraderie or integrity RFL expects from its players, staff and fans.”
Folau signed a 12-month deal with the French side on Tuesday, 10 years after he last played in the NRL with Brisbane Broncos.
Watch Israel Folau speak to Alan Jones about his views on freedom of speech. Post continues below.
The move was largely greeted with outrage by the British rugby league community with Super League CEO Robert Elstone admitting he was disappointed at the signing but conceded there was little he could do to prevent it.
“Super League deplores the homophobic comments Israel Folau has made in the past, which squarely contradict our sport’s core values,” Elstone said.
“I have sought the opinion of informed voices connected to our game, and the majority share my disappointment that one of our clubs has chosen to sign him.
“There is a strong feeling that the decision to sign him lets down many people connected to our sport.
“I made Catalans Dragons aware of those views.