‘Love and grace’ needed in Folau case – Sir Jones

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Former rugby greats Sir Michael Jones and Dr Farah Palmer have responded to Israel Folau's comments on homosexuality. The pair were elected and re-elected respectively as board members to the New Zealand Rugby Union, at their annual general meeting in Wellington.

All Blacks legend Sir Michael Jones, also known for his religious faith, says love is the key in response to Israel Folau's comments on the gay community.

“Being able to express yourself is important,” says Sir Michael.

“Doing it respectfully and, I suppose, with wisdom.  There needs to be a lot of love and a lot of grace, particularly as Christians and people of faith”.

Jones and Dr Farah Palmer both took part in the NZRU Respect and Responsibility Review last year which includes the gay community.

“The inclusion of the rainbow community around the sport is certainly alive and well,” said NZRU Chair, Steve Tew.

“We didn't really see the need for us to get involved in an issue that involved an Australian player.  We've been very clear- we've got policies, we've been through the rainbow tick certification".

“As long as it's about kotahitanga, unity, whanaungatanga, aroha- just making sure everybody feels loved and included in the rugby space,” says Dr Palmer.

The Wallabies rugby star Folau has caused an uproar over his social media comment about gay people.

However, Jones says Folau is also a personal friend.

“I do know Israel, he's a good man, he's got a good heart and he's got a strong faith and he's a friend,” he says.

“And so my heart goes out to him at this time”.