Words: Steve Brown
Andy Brennan says Israel Folau’s homophobic comments were ‘awful’ but will not let ‘negativity win’.
Folau was one of the highest paid Australian rugby player was recently fired by Rugby Australia following a number of homophobic posts on Instagram – his most recent post said all gay people will go to Hell.
Earlier this year, legal representatives for the rugby player have revealed they have filed an application to the Australian Fair Work Commission and are claiming his employment was unlawfully terminated because of his religion.
And now Brennan – who became the first male professional Australian football player to come out while still playing earlier this year – has slammed Folau’s comments and said they would make him ‘feel awful’.
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It’s taken me years to get comfortable saying this - I’m gay. I was scared it would affect my friendships, my teammates, and my family. But the support of the people around me has been so great and helped me get to the final step; being completely open. Being open is the best way for me to feel most comfortable and be myself. So… carry on! 🌈 #owlyagoing
Speaking to 7.30, Brennan said: “I kind of related it to myself. If I was 16 years old and reading what he said, it would have made me feel awful.
“You can’t let negativity win, otherwise what [Folau] says win.”
Since coming out, Brennan says he has seen positive outcomes from his post on Instagram.
He added: “I put some posts out [that were] read by someone that was in a similar position to what I was, who happened to be 16 years old.
“Through that they found the courage to then come out to a friend of theirs.
“That’s pretty powerful to be able to use something that was so negative, to call it out a little bit, and then be able to affect and change their life.
“I think that’s what you have to do with that kind of stuff.”