Israel Folau says he is “deeply saddened” his $4 million Rugby Australia contract has been terminated and is considering his options.
The Wallabies star has been sacked for posting a homophobic social media message in April.
A three-person independent panel recommended termination 10 days after deciding Folau had committed a “high-level” code of conduct breach.
The 30 year old has 72 hours to appeal and is said to be considering bringing a freedom of speech case to the Australian Supreme Court.
Folau, a devout Christian, argues he should not be punished for expressing his faith.
“As Australians, we are born with certain rights, including the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of expression.”
“The Christian faith has always been a part of my life and I believe it is my duty as a Christian to share God's word.”
“Upholding my religious beliefs should not prevent my ability to work or play for my club and country.”
Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle insists they respect Folau’s religious convictions.
“I’ve communicated directly with the players to make it clear that Rugby Australia fully supports their right to their own beliefs and nothing that has happened changes that.
“Representing Australia and all Australians on the Rugby field is a privilege.
“Selection is dependent upon a player’s ability to contribute to the Wallabies, and the game of Rugby itself, in a positive and consistent manner both on and off the field.
“When players sign a contract with the Wallabies, they sign up to the values of the team and the sport.”
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