Ex-Wallabies coach, Alan Jones launched a defiant on-air rant in support of Israel Folau following an independent panels determination that he committed a “high-level” breach of the professional players’ code of conduct.
Jones, who coached the Australian rugby team in the 1980s, now hosts a breakfast radio show where he jumped to the defence of Folau following the verdict of the three-man panel against the Wallabies full-back.
The former coach described society and Folau’s detractors as ‘”sick”.
“The Australia that our Anzacs fought for seems to be disappearing before our very eyes,” Jones said.
“It prompts you to wonder what kind of society we’re living in. Nothing wrong with Israel, it’s the society and those who prosecute him who are sick.
“But the cancer won’t kill us, it’s the cancer that will be removed, not Israel. The Australian people won’t accept this. This is not the Australia our veterans fought for and we’re going to have to take our country back by argument and by the democratic and peaceful process — not by hate and revenge or vilification and intimidation.”
Jones called upon Folau to fight whatever ruling is handed down to him “with my support and the support of millions of Australians will take this fight every inch of the way”.
He went on to speak of the shame he feels towards Australia rugby following the treatment of Folau.
“We take oaths of office in every court of the land. The Prime Minister is sworn in with his hand on the Bible — the same bible which Israel Folau has quoted and he’s now had his dignity, his integrity, his employment, his vocation and his income stolen from him.
“I coached Australian rugby, I was proud of it, I was proud of the boys and I was proud of everything we stood for. Today, I’m ashamed of the people who’ve inherited our proud legacy.
“The battle has just begun, and it’s a battle for all Australians. If we’re not free to articulate our religious beliefs and quote from the Bible, and if we’re not free to speak for fear that someone affects a hurt or is part of the offence industry, if that’s where we’ve reached in this country, we’ve reached a dark place and we are all at risk.”
Jones went on to reveal that he texted Israel Folau in the wake of his anti-homophobic social media post and that Folau responded telling him he was “at peace”.
“I’ve just had a note from Israel, he won’t mind if I’m sharing it with you because I said to him, ‘Hold your head up’,” Jones said.
“He said, ‘Alan, I’m at peace, mate. My head is held high’.”