So. This Israel Folau fellow… who’s booming fundraiser has been all over the media for the last few weeks. Here’s what I think.
If you don’t know the story, I’m not sure where it’s at now but basically, this rugby player was sacked by Rugby Australia after posting a homophobic tweet.
Folau is a hardline Christian and argued that his comments were simply Bible recitations – which they were. And here’s to free speech right? So he’s now suing for unfair dismissal.
He launched legal proceedings with the Fair Work Commission and is seeking $10 million in damages from Rugby Australia; a payout that would financially cripple rugby’s governing body.
To cover court costs, he launched a Go Fund Me bid as he had spent more than $100,000 of his savings in his legal challenge.
The player was contracted to make more than $1 million per season from Rugby Australia under his terminated contract and has earned millions of dollars across three professional sports: rugby league, AFL and rugby.
Side note – if he’s earned millions already, whats another few hundred thousand. Just what purchases did he make these last few years if he’s low on cash already?
Anyway, GoFundMe deleted Folau’s campaign and refunded donors $750,000 he had already raised, deeming that the fundraiser promoted discrimination. Discrimination or free speech?
So then, a new page was made on the Australian Christian Lobby’s website which surpassed $2.1 million in just over 48 hours, with an original target of $3 million.
It’s now been stopped after estimations that Folau’s legal challenge against Rugby Australia – in the worst case – may cost just over $1 million.
While Gofundme and the media have said his behaviour is promoting discrimination, the bigger argument from others is that he’s taking money from children who are dying of cancer.
Former Wallaby Peter FitzSimons said Go Fund Me was for worthy causes where the people needed money and they couldn’t support it, so they approached the community.
“And they say ‘ ‘Listen I’ve got nothing in my pockets, I’ve got a tumour, can you help me?’ And people say, ‘That’s a really good thing to do’, so they do it.”
So was Folau’s behaviour fair or selfish? Hence the media attention and controversy.
Personally, I don’t believe everyone who donated to a rugby player sacked for being a homophobe would have otherwise given their money to sick kids.
So shouldn’t the media be shaming the donors? It’s their decision, not Folau’s. He’s just given them an option to help.
It’s the donors money. If they hadn’t donate to Folau, they would have just spent it on groceries or airfares. I think I’d rather Folau got the money over this.
They were never going to give that money to children with tumours because they believe God will cure these things, not crowd funding.
Crowd funding is for when one of them does something stupid and needs to be bailed out, apparently.
Personally, I think he did a stupid thing but the dismissal was a bit rough – so good luck to him I guess.