Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

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Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#1  Postby Blackadder » Apr 15, 2019 11:52 am

Israel Folau, an Australian international rugby player, has had his contract terminated for preaching homophobic comments.

I’m not sure where I stand on this. I find his comments repugnant. Yet I am uneasy with punishing people for expressing their views. I would rather see such ideas wither and die from exposure and ridicule. Punishing Christians just seems to stoke their sense of martyrdom and makes them worse. Then again, he is a national figure and signed a contract prohibiting him from making such comments on social media.

What do you think?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/47932231
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#2  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 15, 2019 12:08 pm

Blackadder wrote:Israel Folau, an Australian international rugby player, has had his contract terminated for preaching homophobic comments.

I’m not sure where I stand on this. I find his comments repugnant. Yet I am uneasy with punishing people for expressing their views. I would rather see such ideas wither and die from exposure and ridicule. Punishing Christians just seems to stoke their sense of martyrdom and makes them worse. Then again, he is a national figure and signed a contract prohibiting him from making such comments on social media.

What do you think?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/47932231

I think that competitive sports, unlike citizenship is a commercial issue and therefore a club should have every right to ban players as long as they don't do so for illegal reasons, like racism.
If I owned a company or product, I would not in any way be associated with homophobia and expect my employees to not espouse such views if they wish to continue working for me.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#3  Postby TopCat » Apr 15, 2019 12:44 pm

Blackadder wrote:I find his comments repugnant. Yet I am uneasy with punishing people for expressing their views. I would rather see such ideas wither and die from exposure and ridicule.

^^ This.

Thomas Eshuis wrote:I think that competitive sports, unlike citizenship is a commercial issue and therefore a club should have every right to ban players as long as they don't do so for illegal reasons, like racism.


^^ Also this.

Much as I deplore the comment, from Israel Folau's point of view, he's not being homophobic. He's just reporting what he believes will happen to gays. In response to a question from someone else, in fact. He's not saying he's going to do anything to hasten their arrival there, and we don't know whether he actually acts in a discriminatory way toward them.

To the fundamentalist Christian, any unbeliever is going to hell - if the questioner had asked what was God's plan for unbelievers in general, he'd have given the same reply, and it would have passed mostly without note, other than that he's a crazy fundie.

I agree that the Australian Rugby Union has the right to employ whom they want, and expect them to be ambassadors for the sport, and as such, place limits on what they say in public. If he breached the terms of his contract, then they have the right to sack him.

But it's a shame that we now live in an age where saying unpalatable things summarily terminates your career. Personally, I think it would be better if people could roll their eyes, conclude that he's a dick, and move on.

As the OP said, he's now received all the affirmation he needs by being made into a metaphorical martyr.
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#4  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 15, 2019 12:50 pm

WARNING

Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists and Idolaters,

Hell awaits you.

REPENT!

ONLY JESUS SAVES


Blackadder wrote: Yet I am uneasy with punishing people for expressing their views.


I struggle to think of any job where you could make such statements and still retain your job.

He's got a national platform precisely because of his status in the sport. As such, if he misuses that status, particularly after having been officially warned and having signed a contract assuring he will not engage in this, then he's only got himself to blame. His freedom of speech is not being infringed on: instead the reality is that he needs to learn that freedom of speech does not equate to freedom from consequences of that speech.

Good riddance: Australia deserves and is better.
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#5  Postby LucidFlight » Apr 15, 2019 12:51 pm

I like his Tweet about Tasmania becoming the first Australian jurisdiction to make gender optional on birth certificates:

The devil has blinded so many people in this world, REPENT and turn away from your evil ways. Turn to Jesus Christ who will set you free.


The replies are gold. Gold!

Simon R:
why would Jesus have wanted more detail in birth records? How is that possibly connected to his faith, or the religion of his followers?
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#6  Postby LucidFlight » Apr 15, 2019 12:54 pm

Poor fellow, though. I think he's taken too many balls to the head.
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#7  Postby Blackadder » Apr 15, 2019 1:13 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
WARNING

Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists and Idolaters,

Hell awaits you.

REPENT!

ONLY JESUS SAVES


Blackadder wrote: Yet I am uneasy with punishing people for expressing their views.


I struggle to think of any job where you could make such statements and still retain your job.

He's got a national platform precisely because of his status in the sport. As such, if he misuses that status, particularly after having been officially warned and having signed a contract assuring he will not engage in this, then he's only got himself to blame. His freedom of speech is not being infringed on: instead the reality is that he needs to learn that freedom of speech does not equate to freedom from consequences of that speech.

Good riddance: Australia deserves and is better.


I can completely see why the national rugby body censured him. At the very least, he has breached his terms of employment. I guess my slight unease is when I think of how this could be used in the other direction. Thomas made the point that commercial considerations would come into play. Yes they would. But that could be used against atheist employees too in different circumstances.

So I think this goes deeper than commercial expediency or a contractual obligation. Maybe we have passed the point where fundamentalist Christian views are acceptable to utter in public. 50 years ago, such views would have probably not even raised an eyebrow. I suspect we have reached that turning point, at least in the non-Islamic world outside of the US. It’s interesting that social acceptability, which was once closely associated with being a member of a religion, is now heading almost in completely the opposite direction, at least insofar as public proclamations are concerned.
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#8  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 15, 2019 1:17 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
WARNING

Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists and Idolaters,

Hell awaits you.

REPENT!

ONLY JESUS SAVES


Blackadder wrote: Yet I am uneasy with punishing people for expressing their views.


I struggle to think of any job where you could make such statements and still retain your job.

He's got a national platform precisely because of his status in the sport. As such, if he misuses that status, particularly after having been officially warned and having signed a contract assuring he will not engage in this, then he's only got himself to blame. His freedom of speech is not being infringed on: instead the reality is that he needs to learn that freedom of speech does not equate to freedom from consequences of that speech.

Good riddance: Australia deserves and is better.

:this: was basically what I was getting at, but ST has managed to phrase it more eloquently and to the point.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#9  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 15, 2019 1:18 pm

TopCat wrote:
But it's a shame that we now live in an age where saying unpalatable things summarily terminates your career. Personally, I think it would be better if people could roll their eyes, conclude that he's a dick, and move on.

As the OP said, he's now received all the affirmation he needs by being made into a metaphorical martyr.

Even if his remark had been about, for example, Jews or black people?
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#10  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 15, 2019 1:20 pm

Blackadder wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
WARNING

Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists and Idolaters,

Hell awaits you.

REPENT!

ONLY JESUS SAVES


Blackadder wrote: Yet I am uneasy with punishing people for expressing their views.


I struggle to think of any job where you could make such statements and still retain your job.

He's got a national platform precisely because of his status in the sport. As such, if he misuses that status, particularly after having been officially warned and having signed a contract assuring he will not engage in this, then he's only got himself to blame. His freedom of speech is not being infringed on: instead the reality is that he needs to learn that freedom of speech does not equate to freedom from consequences of that speech.

Good riddance: Australia deserves and is better.


I can completely see why the national rugby body censured him. At the very least, he has breached his terms of employment. I guess my slight unease is when I think of how this could be used in the other direction. Thomas made the point that commercial considerations would come into play. Yes they would. But that could be used against atheist employees too in different circumstances.

So I think this goes deeper than commercial expediency or a contractual obligation. Maybe we have passed the point where fundamentalist Christian views are acceptable to utter in public. 50 years ago, such views would have probably not even raised an eyebrow. I suspect we have reached that turning point, at least in the non-Islamic world outside of the US. It’s interesting that social acceptability, which was once closely associated with being a member of a religion, is now heading almost in completely the opposite direction, at least insofar as public proclamations are concerned.

I can only speak for my own little corner of this world, but around here, you still get disappointed stares or sometimes told you're rude if you make disparaging remarks about religion, especially Christianity if any of it's adherents are around or related to the people you're talking to.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#11  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 15, 2019 1:22 pm

Blackadder wrote:
I can completely see why the national rugby body censured him. At the very least, he has breached his terms of employment. I guess my slight unease is when I think of how this could be used in the other direction. Thomas made the point that commercial considerations would come into play. Yes they would. But that could be used against atheist employees too in different circumstances.


I'm not sure how.

Anti-theist, perhaps. But if someone wants to write up some sordid fantasy they have of religious people being made to suffer, then I've no problem them reaping the consequences of their words either.


Blackadder wrote:So I think this goes deeper than commercial expediency or a contractual obligation. Maybe we have passed the point where fundamentalist Christian views are acceptable to utter in public. 50 years ago, such views would have probably not even raised an eyebrow.


Sure, but 50 years ago homosexuality was illegal in essentially all nations.

70 years ago, it was perfectly normal for African Americans in the USA to be treated as second class citizens in every aspect of life.

If there's a directionality here, it appears to me to be a positive one. A slippery slope upwards, as it were.
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#12  Postby Blackadder » Apr 15, 2019 1:34 pm

Thomas Eshuis wrote:
Blackadder wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
WARNING

Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists and Idolaters,

Hell awaits you.

REPENT!

ONLY JESUS SAVES


Blackadder wrote: Yet I am uneasy with punishing people for expressing their views.


I struggle to think of any job where you could make such statements and still retain your job.

He's got a national platform precisely because of his status in the sport. As such, if he misuses that status, particularly after having been officially warned and having signed a contract assuring he will not engage in this, then he's only got himself to blame. His freedom of speech is not being infringed on: instead the reality is that he needs to learn that freedom of speech does not equate to freedom from consequences of that speech.

Good riddance: Australia deserves and is better.


I can completely see why the national rugby body censured him. At the very least, he has breached his terms of employment. I guess my slight unease is when I think of how this could be used in the other direction. Thomas made the point that commercial considerations would come into play. Yes they would. But that could be used against atheist employees too in different circumstances.

So I think this goes deeper than commercial expediency or a contractual obligation. Maybe we have passed the point where fundamentalist Christian views are acceptable to utter in public. 50 years ago, such views would have probably not even raised an eyebrow. I suspect we have reached that turning point, at least in the non-Islamic world outside of the US. It’s interesting that social acceptability, which was once closely associated with being a member of a religion, is now heading almost in completely the opposite direction, at least insofar as public proclamations are concerned.

I can only speak for my own little corner of this world, but around here, you still get disappointed stares or sometimes told you're rude if you make disparaging remarks about religion, especially Christianity if any of it's adherents are around or related to the people you're talking to.


I think this is what I find most fascinating about social trends today, of which this case is just one little snapshot. There is still a strong element of support for religious belief, even in societies that are making it less and less acceptable to publicly utter some of the fundamental tenets of those beliefs. It really does seem like we are at the turning of the tide against traditional religious views, which is why examples like Folau gain a lot of air time. Almost like the religious empire is slowly crumbling, with occasional eruptions at its shrinking boundaries.
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#13  Postby Blackadder » Apr 15, 2019 1:37 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
Blackadder wrote:
I can completely see why the national rugby body censured him. At the very least, he has breached his terms of employment. I guess my slight unease is when I think of how this could be used in the other direction. Thomas made the point that commercial considerations would come into play. Yes they would. But that could be used against atheist employees too in different circumstances.


I'm not sure how.

Anti-theist, perhaps. But if someone wants to write up some sordid fantasy they have of religious people being made to suffer, then I've no problem them reaping the consequences of their words either.


Blackadder wrote:So I think this goes deeper than commercial expediency or a contractual obligation. Maybe we have passed the point where fundamentalist Christian views are acceptable to utter in public. 50 years ago, such views would have probably not even raised an eyebrow.


Sure, but 50 years ago homosexuality was illegal in essentially all nations.

70 years ago, it was perfectly normal for African Americans in the USA to be treated as second class citizens in every aspect of life.

If there's a directionality here, it appears to me to be a positive one. A slippery slope upwards, as it were.


I agree the direction of travel is positive. But we’re going to suffer a few moral IEDs planted on the roadside by Jesus’s followers, by the look of it.
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#14  Postby LucidFlight » Apr 15, 2019 1:41 pm

It looks like those IEDs are blowing up in their own faces. We need more of these shining examples.
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#15  Postby aban57 » Apr 15, 2019 2:57 pm

A right wing nut has been sentenced to 1 year jail in France today, for negationism.

I think we, as a society, fight this stupidity the wrong way. And I think it's even more obvious with negationism. Anti-vax propaganda actually kills people, including children, why is it not punished the same way ?

But the way we're looking at all this is wrong. We're only punishing the expression of the opinions we judge detrimental to other people. And yet, it's mostly pointless, as those opinions spread anyway. It makes people holding those opinions shut up, at least publicly, and sometimes more careful in their actions. But it also creates a resentment, because they feel their right to speak is infringed. And it is. The fact that it's a good thing or not depends on what side you're in. I personally don't mind to prevent idiots from spreading their ignorance, but they'll never see it that way.

We need to focus on education. We need to couple ALL sanctions for discrimination with education about the lies behind it. Every single discrimination is based on a lie. There is no exception. We need to destroy the lies (and mock them if necessary), and the discriminations will disappear by themselves.
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#16  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 15, 2019 3:27 pm

aban57 wrote:A right wing nut has been sentenced to 1 year jail in France today, for negationism.

I think we, as a society, fight this stupidity the wrong way. And I think it's even more obvious with negationism. Anti-vax propaganda actually kills people, including children, why is it not punished the same way ?

But the way we're looking at all this is wrong. We're only punishing the expression of the opinions we judge detrimental to other people. And yet, it's mostly pointless, as those opinions spread anyway. It makes people holding those opinions shut up, at least publicly, and sometimes more careful in their actions. But it also creates a resentment, because they feel their right to speak is infringed. And it is. The fact that it's a good thing or not depends on what side you're in. I personally don't mind to prevent idiots from spreading their ignorance, but they'll never see it that way.

We need to focus on education. We need to couple ALL sanctions for discrimination with education about the lies behind it. Every single discrimination is based on a lie. There is no exception. We need to destroy the lies (and mock them if necessary), and the discriminations will disappear by themselves.

It's not suppressing anything. Israel is still able to spew his bullshit all over the web and in real life.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#17  Postby I'm With Stupid » Apr 15, 2019 3:48 pm

Let's be honest, religion is the only reason that this decision is in any way noteworthy. Add 'blacks' to that list, and it suddenly ceases to be a matter for debate, and is obviously recognised as a racist statement that would get anyone sacked. And that's basically because there's no mainstream religion (nowadays, at least) that's openly racist. Personally, I'd rather live in a world where grown adults are responsible for their own statements, rather than being able to hide behind their religion. We're constantly expected to forgive individual religious people's bigoted statements because it's just their religion, but then also refrain from criticising the bigoted ideology that causes them to make such statements (particularly in the case of Islam).

For the record, it's worth mentioning that he goes further than Christian dogma in his bigotry, because Christianity doesn't consider being homosexual to be intrinsically sinful in itself, whereas Israel Folau, who likes to spend most of his time getting thrown around in the mud by big strong boys, states that the mere fact that you're homosexual means you must repent.
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#18  Postby Rachel Bronwyn » Apr 15, 2019 3:51 pm

If your job comes with a national platform, I'm inclined to believe employers are entitled to punt you for behaviour that reflects poorly on them.

A lesbian friend is arguing against the ban though, which is really challenging me to think.

If nothing else, it's an interesting illustration of effects of colonisation.
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#19  Postby I'm With Stupid » Apr 15, 2019 4:37 pm

Like it or not, professional sports people get paid large amounts of money because they play their sports with the logos of big corporations plastered across their clothes and equipment. Obviously that comes with a certain amount of responsibility to restrict what you say to non-bigoted statements. Hell, even an ordinary person could expect to be fired if they were caught spouting bigotry in their supermarket uniform. That's not a restriction of free speech, it's just an expectation that you're a representative of your employer when you're adorned in their logo. Obviously with higher profile jobs, this goes further into all of your public appearances and statements. He didn't make these comments in a private conversation with friends. He made them on an Instagram account that he explicitly uses to promote his latest brand deals. Unsurprisingly, Qantas were reportedly not too keen on seeing their logo appear on his chest in the future.

A talented rugby player will likely not have trouble finding employment somewhere, but perhaps the big money associated with keeping your mouth shut and being professional are likely to disappear for him. And personally, I don't have much of a problem with that, nor do I consider it a restriction on free speech.
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Re: Aussie Rugby bans player over homophobic remarks

#20  Postby Thommo » Apr 15, 2019 5:07 pm

I definitely would regard it as a restriction on free speech, personally. I just think it's a justified one.

National sport is supposed to be inclusive, about bringing people together to watch, celebrate and enjoy something that makes us all human. At its best it's about fairness, the competitive spirit, dedication, digging deep and producing something truly extraordinary. It's about those things, that bind us all, about bringing us together for something that thrills and excites, but where everyone walks away at the end, after shaking hands.

Given all that (which is also just a personal view) I think having a clause in the contract that you maintain certain standards while in the job is fair. I'm not always ok with the idea that anything that goes in a contract is justified (gagging clauses regarding sexual assault settlements have been preying on my mind recently after a number of high profile cases in the news), but in this case where it's about not spreading hatred towards a traditionally marginalised or attacked group of people who have every right to want to enjoy a good rugby match, I think the clause is completely justified.
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