Cadbury Netball Series Day 4
Cadbury Netball Series Day 4

Netball had little choice on Folau post

DIAMONDS coach Lisa Alexander says Netball Australia couldn't have punished Maria Folau for publicly supporting sacked Wallabies star husband Israel, but stresses the sport she represents is fiercely inclusive.

New Zealand and Adelaide Thunderbirds sharpshooter Folau has come under fire for endorsing Israel's crowd-funding efforts in his legal fight against Rugby Australia, who terminated his contract over his latest homophobic social media post claiming "hell awaits" gay people.

Netball Australia, Super Netball and the Thunderbirds determined Folau's Instagram post had not breached their social media policy and she would therefore not be sanctioned.

 


Alexander was more diplomatic, submitting her employer had little choice.

"I just don't think they can," Alexander told News Corp.

"That's a part of what everyone has to understand, and that's why Netball Australia really came out to say that they know that there is nothing there in the (contractual stipulations).

"And also that we do support inclusivity, we are absolutely for it.

"We're not the sport that's having to deal with Israel - Rugby Australia are - but we've made it very clear that we're an inclusive sport and that we want everyone to enjoy our game no matter what race, religion, sexual orientation, the whole bit."

 

Silver Ferns star Maria Folau. Picture: Getty
Silver Ferns star Maria Folau. Picture: Getty

 

Folau is staying silent on the issue as she prepares for the Silver Ferns' Netball World Cup campaign, starting in Liverpool on Friday.

Netball New Zealand last week said Folau had "not breached NNZ policy" and Silver Ferns assistant coach Debbie Fuller indicated "our first port of call of course is to care for Maria".

But one of NNZ's major sponsors, ANZ, has reportedly raised concerns about Folau's post.

"I just really think it's a bigger issue than sport and that's what I think sometimes misses the point with everybody," Alexander said.

"It's not just about the sport. It's contractual, it's legal, there's a moral dilemma side of things as well.

"It's just really, really complicated. I don't wish that it happened to Maria and to Izzy and all of those things but it is what it is and it highlights an important discussion for all of us."

Israel Folau and Maria Folau leave the Kenthurst Uniting Church. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone
Israel Folau and Maria Folau leave the Kenthurst Uniting Church. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone

England star Geva Mentor also weighed in last week, saying "Maria's in a hard place".

"You stay quiet, you're not supporting your husband; you speak up, you support your husband but you get backlash," Mentor told British media.

"Everyone is entitled to their own view but they (the Folaus) have to understand that they are in an influential position and they are so public they have to keep tabs on it.

"There is no room for homophobia in netball and we have players that are (gay) in England and Australia, and it is putting them in uncomfortable positions."



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