“Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him,” the 30-year-old Wallabies player, who also plays for Australia’s national team, captioned the image.
Rugby Australia, the sport’s national governing body, said Thursday that it was their intention to terminate his contract.
“We want to make it clear that he does not speak for the game with his recent social media posts.”
They said they had made repeated attempts to contact Folau and his representatives following the posts, but he had failed to communicate directly with either organization. Earlier, Rugby Australia had released a statement calling the content of the post “unacceptable.”
“As a code we have made it clear to Israel formally and repeatedly that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action,” Castle and Hore said.
“We want everyone to feel safe and welcome in our game and no vilification based on race, gender, religion or sexuality is acceptable and no language that isolates, divides or insults people based on any of those factors can be tolerated.”
“The devil has blinded so many people in this world, repent and turn away from your evil ways,” he captioned the screenshot.
Both the tweet and the post are still online. CNN has reached out to both Rugby Australia and Folau for comment.
Folau’s comments have attracted criticism online, including in neighboring New Zealand where rugby is a hugely popular support. Folau’s wife, Maria Folau, is a netball player on New Zealand’s national team, the Silver Ferns.
New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern told media Thursday she didn’t agree with Folau’s comments.
Qantas, a major sponsor of the Wallabies, has also condemned Folau’s post. “These comments are really disappointing and clearly don’t reflect the spirit of inclusion and diversity that we support,” a Qantas spokesman said in a statement sent to CNN.
“We are pleased to see Rugby Australia’s condemnation of the comments and will await the outcome of their review.”
Castle defended Rugby Australia’s decision not to sanction Folau, saying: “On one hand it’s a human rights issue but on the other hand, you’re dealing with freedom of speech.
“We’ve had conversations with Izzy about presenting his views in a respectful way,” Castle said. “He is walking the line, we will continue the dialogue.”
James Lolicato, co-founder of Australian charity Proud 2 Play — which “focuses on increasing LGBTI+ engagement in sport, exercise and active recreation” — told CNN that Folau’s latest comments “are not only demeaning to LGBTI+ people, but also are discriminatory.”
“We see the negative consequences that arise from comments such as these from high-level players, be that of young LGBTI+ people feeling isolated and afraid to get involved in sport, or the modeling of these comments and behaviors in other people,” Lolicato said.
“Rugby needs to look at its vilification policies and sanction Israel to show that they really are a sport for everybody,” he added.
“We can no longer mask hate speech as ‘free speech’ and need to make sure that discrimination of all forms is properly tackled in sport.”
Folau’s New South Wales Waratahs team was not immediately available for comment.