Folau cops fresh financial blow
SPORTSWEAR company ASICS has dumped Israel Folau as an ambassador following his social media posts vilifying homosexuals.
ASICS has been a personal sponsor of Folau's, as well as the sponsor of the Wallabies, but has now cut ties with the 30-year-star who is facing the termination of his $4 million contract.
In a public statement, the company said: "ASICS is dedicated to sport and its healthy contribution to society. We believe sport is for everyone and we champion inclusivity and diversity.
"While Israel Folau is entitled to his personal views, some of those expressed in recent social media posts are not aligned with those of ASICS.
"As such, our partnership with Israel has become untenable and he will no longer represent ASICS as a brand ambassador."
The lucrative personal deal is another financial blow for Folau, who has already racked up legal expenses of six figures fighting for a payout from Rugby Australia.
A three-person panel deemed that Folau had committed a high-level breach of his professional player's code of conduct on Tuesday evening, after 22 hours of hearings across three days.
A high-level breach is what RA had determined Folau had committed with his April 10 Instagram post saying homosexuals and other sinners were destined for hell unless they repented.
That was a determination made by RA's integrity unit, and RA used that as the basis to announce they intended to terminate Folau's contract.
Folau's legal team argued that RA never made it clear exactly what the player could and could not post on social media, therefore if the panel ruled he had made a code of conduct breach, they'd have to deem it on the low or medium level scale, which would not allow RA to sack him.
But after Folau was formally warned for a similar post last year by RA, the panel decided he had met the high-level threshold. They have now adjourned to make a decision, although this is not expected until next week, with both parties making written submissions to them this week.
Just last month, ASICS had posted a message of congratulations to Folau for breaking the record for most Super Rugby tries in history (60).
Folau made his controversial post three days later, and ASICS's social media pages were flooded with complaints from customers, who threatened to boycott their products unless they cut ties with the player.
With Folau's rugby future hanging by a thread, ASICS has made the decision to drop him.
Last year, after Folau's first anti-gay comments, Land Rover confiscated a sponsored car given to him.