Qantas CEO breaks silence on Folau
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has broken his silence on the Israel Folau scandal, saying he supports Rugby Australia (RA) for taking action against the star's latest controversial social media post.
Mr Joyce, who is openly gay, told the Australian Financial Review he was "quite happy" with the action against the 73-Test fullback, who was found guilty of a "high level" code of conduct breach by a three-person independent panel during a hearing in Sydney.
"We don't sponsor something to get involved in controversy. That's not part of the deal," Joyce told the AFR. "We expect our partners to take the appropriate action.
"It's not an issue for Qantas, it's an issue for every potential sponsor for Rugby Australia, ever.
"They have to manage it … and shame on you if it happens a second time. That's the way we approach it in the aviation industry, and we expect these organisations to be the same." Qantas, Asics and Land Rover are RA's major sponsors.
Asics dumped Folau as an ambassador on Wednesday, saying his views didn't align with the sportswear company.
"Asics is dedicated to sport and its healthy contribution to society. We believe sport is for everyone and we champion inclusivity and diversity," it said in a statement.
After posting on Instagram last month that "hell awaits" gays, Folau may have his four-year, $4 million RA contract torn up. However, there's also the chance he'll escape the sack and instead be hit with a fine and/or suspension.
Wallabies selectors met on Thursday to discuss who should be included in a squad of around 40 players for a pre-World Cup camp in Brisbane next Sunday, which Folau will not be included in.
The leading candidates to replace him at fullback - Kurtley Beale, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge and Tom Banks - will all be present in the Queensland capital.
RA revealed its intention to sack Folau for his latest homophobic quote, which came after a similar post on social media last year sparked controversy.
Qantas expressed its disappointment over the 2018 post, which similarly said gay people will go to "HELL", but the company made the decision to stand by RA and honour its major sponsorship agreement.
After the most recent scandal the company said in a statement last month Folau's comments were "really disappointing and clearly don't reflect the spirit of inclusion and diversity that we support".
Wallabies legend and devout Christian Nick Farr-Jones defended Folau earlier this week, telling Sky News the ugly situation had become a "train wreck".
"What this is causing, vis-a-vis a divide amongst fans amongst just the game in general, the other sports must be laughing at us," he said.
He went on to defend Folau, saying: "From Israel's perspective he absolutely believes he's done nothing wrong.
"He believes that he's put those posts out in love to people hoping that they'll listen as a warning to the sinner, of the consequences of sin.
"I would say in a nutshell Israel loves the person, he hates the sin."