Israel Folau already has millions, so why should he get yours?
Israel Folau already has millions, so why should he get yours?

Why Folau doesn’t deserve your money

OPINION

ALWAYS read the fine print.

Especially in the case of giving money to those who don't need it - and to be clear I'm talking about Israel Folau, former rugby star and self-proclaimed bastion of the moral high ground in this world of alleged vice and avarice.

As of the time of this writing, his beguiling, self-serving GoFundMe campaign has raised over half-a-million Australian dollars out of the $3 million goal he has set.

And at the bottom of it all is a caveat that, despite his plea that "The money I am asking for is solely to fund the rest of my action in court",   suggests those funds may be used however Folau deems necessary.

"In making this contribution I acknowledge that my contributions are made freely as a gift on the basis previously affirmed and that there will be no obligations on Israel Folau to do anything for me in recognition of the gift or to apply the funds in any particular way with respect to his legal action, and that I hold no expectation to receive anything in return for my contribution."

It might just be me but that seems more than a little disingenuous - perhaps even greedy - of Folau. But then again, this is a man who has played professional sport in this country at the highest level since he was a 19-year-old.

He has been a premiership hero, a national sporting icon and a failed AFL experiment, but one thing he has never been in those years of professional sport is poor.

His first non-rookie contract in the NRL was estimated to be worth $500,000 with the Brisbane Broncos.

He signed a multimillion-dollar deal with the AFL shortly after that and went on to then join the NSW Waratahs and Rugby Australia, initially on a short-term deal around the $250,000 mark.

He then went on to sign three multi-year multimillion-dollar contracts that were in play right up until the day his employment was terminated for a serious Code of Conduct breach - the infamous Instagram post that demanded hell awaits sinners - which (not for the first time) saw Folau target the gay community.

At a conservative estimate, his earnings throughout that sporting career - not including endorsement deals - land somewhere in the realm of $8 million dollars over nine years. And to add to the millions in earnings, Folau also has a $5 million property portfolio, as reported by The Australian.

If Folau is somehow destitute and actually needs money to fight RA in court, you'd have to wonder where it went.

So as his GoFundMe clicks ever upwards - alongside those of parents who have kids battling tragic and horrifying terminal illnesses, regular people, whose innocent children are fighting for their lives - Australians and people around the world have somehow decided to give their hard-earned cash to a man who doesn't need it.

And to be as clear as Drew Mitchell put it, "you are in a fight that you chose to be in".

Mitchell isn't the only former Wallaby tweeting his distaste.

Karmichael Hunt is out there retweeting and liking multiple anti-Folau posts that go up over the GoFundMe debacle.

Israel Folau and Karmichael Hunt seemed to get along when they both moved to the AFL.
Israel Folau and Karmichael Hunt seemed to get along when they both moved to the AFL.

People can do what they want with their money, it's one of the perks of living in a free democracy. But are these 6350 people and counting gullible, naive, stupid or just looking for a wannabe martyr to latch on to?

I'd really like to know. Because at this point, Folau is trying to make a martyr of himself - nothing else. And he's using a notoriously divisive media personality in Alan Jones to help him do it.

What's worse is what if these people who are chucking money at Folau are not seeking to make him a martyr, but just doing it for potentially bigoted reasons?

Are they people who seemingly believe (like Folau) that homosexuality is a sin against God and the teachings of the bible? Or as Folau blindingly and horrifyingly put it in a sermon last week, angry about sin that's about "man pleasing man" as he paraphrased a book written 3500 years ago.

I'd like to say I can't imagine what it would be like to be subjected to that type of thinking, but sadly I've watched it happen. I've heard friends of mine who are gay say they are initially uncomfortable around me and some of my friends because they were picked on by "guys like us" growing up.

I watched another friend of mine break down and cry during the same-sex marriage plebiscite because of the vitriol thrown his way.

That, in 2019 is horrifying to hear. It's worse to watch. So when someone with a huge platform like Israel Folau preaches intolerance, rightly or wrongly impressionable, naive or hateful people stand up and listen.

And when he cries poor, they also believe him.

Drew Mitchell doesn’t believe Israel Folau should be using GoFundMe for his own battle.
Drew Mitchell doesn’t believe Israel Folau should be using GoFundMe for his own battle.

Well, it's time for that to stop. I implore anyone thinking about donating to Folau to think how this man could possibly need your money over sick kids, homeless people, animal welfare or human crises in the Third World.

What will giving him your money achieve, aside from keeping this already wealthy man in the lifestyle he is accustomed to and allowing him to preach hate?

As for Israel Folau, I would hope against hope he reads this.

Israel, I hope you look deep into the mirror and consider the Bible. I hope you do so every morning and consider that greed is one of the seven deadly sins and Australia already knows you're a liar because you have gone back on the word you gave to walk away when you wrote the following:

"After we'd all talked, I told Raelene if she felt the situation had become untenable - that I was hurting Rugby Australia, its sponsors and the Australian rugby community to such a degree that things couldn't be worked through - I would walk away from my contract, immediately."

You haven't walked away from that "untenable situation". If anything, you've doubled and tripled down in Trump-esque fashion, seeking more and taking more.

Look to your own potential sins, Israel, and consider this passage from Hebrews 13:5: "Let your conversation be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have."

And please give people back this money you don't need and don't spend it on something that is about your own personal gain or your own poorly thought out vendetta.

Continue the conversation with Paul Johnson @pjohnson_sports

News Corp Australia


In pictures: Springfield’s growth toasted with big party

premium_icon In pictures: Springfield’s growth toasted with big party

20th anniversary of a special collaboration

Fresh new modern look for clinic

premium_icon Fresh new modern look for clinic

They have been looking after smiles for more than three decades