Wallabies star David Pocock “strongly disagrees” with Israel Folau’s anti-gay views but insisted it won’t affect the harmony within the team.
Folau hit headlines after writing on Instagram that all gay people will go to Hell unless they repent their sins to God.
But despite walking away without any punishment, the Wallabies player has defended his comments and now he has taken to Twitter to post a video from the late US evangelist David Wilkerson.
In the video, it calls for sinners to repent and refers to sexual perversions and references gay people a number of times.
And now his teammate Pocock – who is a strong advocate of marriage equality – said he fears anti-gay social media posts by athletes will reverse attempts to make sport more inclusive.
He told the Sydney Morning Herald: “Having Australia’s best rugby player using his platform like that has the potential to really harm young people who are going through some pretty rough stuff trying to come to terms with their sexuality.
“They’re (trying to do) that in a culture that clearly hasn’t become inclusive enough. The fact there are still no footballers in Australia who are openly ‘out’, that says plenty about current sports culture and our society.”
However, Pocock insisted Folau’s comments will not affect their relationship on the pitch when they play against Ireland.
"Absolutely (we can play together), I've got family who have those views and we've had it out over the years," he added.
"The bottom line is they're family. You talk about it in a civil way ... and when you do that you realise we've got far more common ground than we have in difference of belief.
"I just don't see who wins if we aren't able to relate to each other as humans and keep talking about things rather than having these really nasty polarising debates to decide who is and isn't part of our tribe based on their beliefs.”