Former Leinster and Ireland rugby player, Gordon D’Arcy, believes anyone who wants to participate in sport must accept and live by approved societal norms.
His comments come as Rugby Australia announced the termination of Israel Folau’s contract due to a “high level” breach of the professional players’ code of conduct, while stating that he had ignored formal instruction not to make any social media post that “condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality”.
Folau has informed the body that he intends to contest the termination and has requested that the matter be referred to a Code of Conduct hearing.
Speaking at the launch of the Aviva Stadium Tour, D’Arcy maintained that anyone who rallies against the inclusiveness of sport must face the consequences.
“Sport by its very nature is inclusive. It is person agnostic, it doesn’t care who you are, whether you’re female, male, colour of your skin, what your preferences are, you play sport.
“If you believe something and you feel the need to express it publically and very openly, there are ramifications to it, it’s not rocket science.
“Sport always needs to remain inclusive and supportive because at a very basic level, if you start putting labels on people inside of sport, you really break down the fabric of what sport is. I don’t think there’s any ambiguity on that.
“People are entitled to believe whatever they want but if you want to participate in sport, which is inclusive in its very nature, you need to understand that and participate in that.”
The conversation was ignited last week when Folau shared a post on social media in which he warned that hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters”.
D’Arcy, who made 82 appearances in an Ireland shirt, believes that the ethos of sport becomes torn apart when various labels are placed on those involved.
“Sport is brilliant for teaching kids how to win together, how to lose together, it’s great for teaching adults the same, social interactions. In a world that’s being overly-digitalised, social interaction is incredibly important.
“If you create barriers in sport, where does society go from that? Sport cannot have labels, barriers or anything like that. If you want to participate in sport, particularly if you want to get very well paid for it, there are societal norms that you must step up to.
“What if there is a person on his team that is gay and hasn’t come out? Or there’s a person who has one of those many things that he doesn’t agree with, how do they function under the banner of sport? It’s non-inclusive, he doesn’t respect their views, they don’t respect his views.”
Former Irish rugby international Gordon D’Arcy was on hand to launch the new and improved Aviva Stadium Tour. The Aviva Stadium Tour provides fans with a unique behind the scenes experience of Ireland’s primary international sport’s stadium giving them not just an understanding of Ireland’s international sporting heritage but also a first-hand experience of what match day is like for our international football and rugby players.