‘Nonsense’: Star’s brutal Folau rant
Wallabies great Peter FitzSimons has again torn Israel Folau to pieces in a heated Sunday morning rant.
The Rugby player turned media commentator gave Folau both barrels during his appearance on Nine's Sports Sunday, where he called a halt to the show and told producers to point the cameras his way.
He then took a deep breath and unloaded on the sacked Wallabies star, just days after talks between the 30-year-old and Rugby Australia failed to discover a breakthrough at Friday's Fair Work Commission conciliation meeting.
FitzSimons seized on one Folau declaration outside that meeting in which he called for an apology from Rugby Australia following his claim that his $4 million contract was torn up unlawfully following his infamous Instagram post suggesting homosexuals were going to hell.
FitzSimons suggested Folau owes Rugby Australia an apology having "bled" the game for millions on the back of two damaging social media posts.
"Camera one on me. Israel Folau and your demand for an apology… mate, bring it in tight," FitzSimons said.
"Last year you put up a post that caused Rugby Australia to bleed for three weeks. It was a homophobic slur, biblically based, whatever.
"Last year you put it up. Three weeks of ugly headlines. Teams losing. Supporters, sponsors running for the exit. It was a disaster.
"Despite that, Rugby Australia signed you up for $4 million for four years. Here we are almost a year later and you put up an identical post. You put your right index finger up above it about to send. You know, and you've acknowledged this, at the moment you press send, you will put rugby, your team, your teammates, through exactly the same agony as last year and you (still) pressed send.
"What happened? We've been engulfed by two months of this nonsense, this disaster. Millions of dollars being bled from rugby. Sponsors for the exits, members turning away. And you think rugby owes you an apology. In the words of the late (rugby league reporter) Peter Frilingos, that'll do me. Unbelievable."
FitzSimons also suggested Folau's appearance on Sky News with Alan Jones was a scripted interview where the former NRL and AFL star was treated in the same way his lawyers will feed him responses in his upcoming court case.
"Give me a break. It was ridiculous," FitzSimons said.
Rugby Australia chairman Cameron Clyne also hit out at Folau recently, declaring the governing body has nothing to apologise for.
In an interview with Nine newspapers after the two parties failed to reach an agreement over the former Wallaby's sacking in Sydney on Friday, Mr Clyne said the game had no other option.
"(The alternative) would be that we'd have no sponsors at all because no sponsor has indicated they would be willing to be associated with social media posts of that sort and that includes government, because we've also heard from them," he said.
"We would also potentially be in litigation with employees who are gay and who would say we're not providing a workplace that is safe or respectful."
Mr Clyne also rubbished suggestions RA had been dictated to by sponsor Qantas.
"That's simply wrong. Sponsors have a right to associate themselves with a game they feel best represents their values, but it is absolute nonsense to suggest it was done at the behest of a sponsor," he said.
"Having said that I haven't had any sponsor come forward and say they were happy with the post or happy to be associated with it. But it's offensive to suggest we get our moral compass from someone else."
The dispute between Rugby Australia and Folau is destined for court after the parties failed to reach an agreement over the former Wallaby's sacking.
Folau's legal team said the matter is headed for court - unless Rugby Australia shifts its position.
"We are disappointed that we were unable to reach settlement with Rugby Australia today," Folau's lawyer George Haros told reporters in Sydney.
"It appears as though that unless things change, we'll be heading to court."
RA and NSW Rugby Union also said they were disappointed with the outcome.
"We remain confident in our processes and will continue to do what is required to defend the values that underpin our game," RA said in a statement.
Folau had hoped RA would apologise for terminating his multi-million dollar contract over a social media post in April condemned as homophobic.
The 30-year-old's post paraphrased a Bible passage saying "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters" would go to hell unless they repented.
The committed Christian argues he was unfairly dismissed on religious grounds, and is seeking $10 million in damages from RA and wants his contract reinstated.
An online fundraiser supported by the Australian Christian Lobby this week raised about $2.2 million to fund his legal battle.