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Gay rugby president urges Israel Folau to think about effect comments have on people

Dan Rose says homophobic comments sends wrong message

2018-04-12

The president of a gay rugby club has said Israel Folau needs to understand the effect their comments have on younger people.

Dan Rose, the president of Australia's first gay rugby club, the Convicts, admitted he felt personally offended when Folau posted on social media that God's plan for gay people was "HELL" unless the repent.

Rose told abc.net.au: "They're very offensive and something that's definitely inconsistent with the values of my club and what I stand for."

Rugby Australia decided to allow Folau - who is Australia's highest paid rugby player - to "think about" his social media use.

But Rose thinks, although people are entitled to their own beliefs, Folau should acknowledge the impact his voice can have.

He said: "But at the end of the day, I think whenever we use our voice, if we're doing it with respect and acknowledging the impacts it can have, he should still be [advocating] his opinion and his voice in a way that's not damaging or hurtful to others.

"We should all be able to have open, frank discussions in our society, providing it comes from a place of respect and understanding of how it can be received at the other end.

"We're also talking about a player who is an elite athlete at the top of their career, as opposed to the other end which could be a young kid that has no voice, has no platform, has no opportunity to defend themselves."

Rose went on to draw from his own experience as a young boy who grew up admiring the Wallabies - the team in which Folau plays.

He said: "My concern is that when a star of a game advocates a position that sends a message that gay people aren't welcome in our sport, that has damaging effects on that individual.

"But it also sends the wrong message to the other 14 players in the team, who are their mates, that are making comments.

"And that guy, that guy who's in the closet is then picking up on what they're saying, because someone that we all look up to is saying, you know, gay people shouldn't be around, shouldn't be in our sport."