Simon Zebo has said he would refuse to play on the same team as Israel Folau after the former Australian international was linked with a shock return to rugby union.
Reports this week said Folau, who switched to rugby league’s Catalan Dragons last year after his contract was terminated by Rugby Australia over his views on same-sex marriage and homosexuality, has been linked with a move to Top 14 sides Toulon and Bayonne.
While Zebo said he will have no choice but to share a field with Folau if he joins a French rival of Racing 92, the Corkman has “no time for him whatsoever” and hopes to set a more tolerant example for his children.
Zebo shared his comments, made on the RugbyPass Offload podcast, with the comment: “Spread love not hate. We [are] all god’s children. One love”.
“Not on the same team, definitely not,” said Zebo when asked if he’d take to the field with Folau.
“If he is playing opposite me there is nothing I can do. I wouldn’t let my team down by not playing.
“I have no time for that [Folau’s beliefs], no time for any of his thoughts. It’s an unbelievably backwards type of mentality.
“It’s such a shame. He’s such a talented guy, a really, really good player but I personally have a serious issue with that.
“There’s racism, there’s homophobia – these are things that I hold on the same playing field.
“I have three kids now and if all three of them were gay when they grow up, me and him are going to have serious issues because having a father who plays rugby, they will know about Israel Folau and they will see all these things – you know the way social media is in this day and age.
“What it could do to people, internally, how it could brainwash them into these negative things, basically saying you’re going to hell if you’re gay, I have no time for it, and it does way more harm than any good that he sees he is trying to do.
“There are too many people out there that have issues with coming out.
Spread love not hate..— Simon Zebo (@SimonZebo) January 14, 2021
We all gods children
One love🖤 https://t.co/aCSrV7iosx
“There are people in our game, like Nigel Owens, who would be way more of a global figure to our game than someone like Israel Folau.
“He is able to do whatever he is able to do, he probably has mouths to feed, but for Toulon and these clubs to be linked to him, it’s not a good look for those clubs either because they are kind of endorsing his beliefs by saying, ‘Come play with us, share a changing room with these guys’.
“What if one of those guys is gay or has gay children? I just have no time for him whatsoever. I don’t know him personally but if you’re spreading that kind of hate on the internet the whole time, I’ve no time for you.”