A wave of relief swept the sporting world after an agreement was finally reached between Israel Folau, Rugby Australia and Rugby NSW.
After months of bitter deliberation, the explosive legal battle was resolved in an out-of-court settlement on Wednesday afternoon, ending the rugby saga which started in April.
The 30-year-old was after $14 million in compensation for wrongful termination after RA sacked him for a code of conduct breach when he said on Instagram earlier this year “hell awaits” gay people.
Many pondered the amount Rugby Australia handed over in the settlement, which is yet to be announced, but predicted to be in the millions. Despite this, the overall consensus on Twitter implied a sense of solace as the eight-month saga finally came to an end.
Entertainment reporter Peter Ford questioned what would happen to the money raised in Folau’s GoFundMe page back in June. GoFundMe reportedly refunded donors after shutting down the page, where Folau was requesting $3 million to help pay for his legal fees. However, millions were raised on the Australian Christian Lobby’s fundraising page, which went live less than 24 hours later.
Queensland politician Andrew Laming lamented the impact this settlement would have on the growth of rugby at a junior level. While the agreement amount was confidential, the sum is assumed to be in the millions, which will heavily impact Rugby Australia after a forgettable 2019.
ABC Grandstand broadcaster Corbin Middlemas wanted more information of the legal proceedings released, curiosity surrounding the reasoning behind Folau’s case.
Others took the opportunity to once again mock Folau’s original Instagram post.
On Wednesday afternoon, Folau and RA released a joint statement saying they had reached an agreement.
The statement said Folau “does not condone discrimination of any kind” and also reinforced RA’s position that it does not agree with his views because the governing body preaches inclusivity within the sport.
Both parties apologised for any hurt the damaging saga has caused.
“Rugby Australia, NSW Rugby and Israel Folau have today settled their legal dispute following the dismissal of Israel Folau after he posted a religious message on social media,” the statement read.
“The social media post reflected Mr Folau’s genuinely held religious beliefs, and Mr Folau did not intend to harm or offend any person when he uploaded the social media post.
“Mr Folau wants all Australians to know that he does not condone discrimination of any kind against any person on the grounds of their sexuality and that he shares Rugby Australia’s commitment to inclusiveness and diversity.
“Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby do not in any way agree with the content of the social media post. Inclusiveness is one of rugby’s core values and it welcomes all people to the game, including all members of the LGBTI community.
“While it was not Rugby Australia’s intention, Rugby Australia acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus. Similarly, Mr Folau did not intend to hurt or harm the game of rugby and acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused.
“Rugby Australia and Mr Folau wish each other well for the future. The Parties do not intend to comment further on the terms of their settlement as it is confidential.”
Folau played 62 Test matches for Australia, scoring 32 tries.