03 August 2020 14:37
Israel Folau refused to take the knee before Catalans Dragons' defeat to St Helens (Picture: Getty) Rugby league legend Martin Offiah has asked Israel Folau to explain his refusal to take a knee before Catalans Dragons' clash with St Helens. Players from both teams kneeled in support of the Black Lives Movement at an empty Emerald Headingley Stadium as the Super League season returned on Sunday afternoon. But Catalans centre Folau remained standing on his own and looked down at the ground before reigning champions St Helens went on to thump the French club 34-6 to move to fifth in the table. Folau was on the losing side at the Emerald Headingley Stadium (Picture: Getty) It's not the first time Folau has caused controversy with his behaviour. In May 2019, the 31-year-old's Rugby Australia contract was terminated after he shared a post on social media stating that 'hell awaits' all homosexual people.
Advertisement The former Wallaby also launched an attack on the trans community last year, claiming that gender fluidity was the work of the 'devil'. Offiah wants an explanation from Folau (Picture: Getty) Reacting to Folau's refusal to kneel at the weekend, ex-Great Britain ace Offiah told Sky Sports: 'It shows you that life is not black and white. He's a complex, controversial character, Israel. 'Why he didn't take the knee? We'll only know if we go and ask him after the game.
It's interesting to see he stood up. 'You need to put a microphone in front of Israel and get him to speak for himself. 'It's a complex issue as I say I don't believe… even with Israel's first comments which brought him into world notoriety he said he did it from a point of love and his own understanding. 'So it would just be interesting to understand what that point is because we're here in the dark, and I don't think [Catalans coach] Steve McNamara knows.' However, McNamara chose to defend Folau's right to not to take the knee while stressing that Catalans Dragons were club were committed to fighting racial injustice. 'As a group of players and coaching staff, we spoke about it in depth and as a club we are completely against racism and all for equal opportunity,' McNamara said. 'But there were some players and staff who made the decision not to take the knee. 'That was based on personal choice, they have their own reasons for doing that, and we decided we would respect anyone's personal choice on the matter.' Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more stories like this, check our sport page. MORE: Fears of racist attacks against British Asians during Eid due to high infection rates MORE: BBC News slammed for using N-word during segment about racist attack on NHS nurse (CNN) Rugby league star Israel Folau's decision not to take a knee before a game should be respected as a "personal choice," says Catalans Dragons coach Steve McNamara. Folau, who returned to rugby league last year after being sacked by Rugby Australia for a homophobic social media post, chose not to take a knee alongside his teammates and St Helens players on Sunday. Across a number of competitions, including the Premier League Formula One and the NBA, athletes have knelt to show solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement and to highlight racial injustice. "As a group of players and coaching staff, we spoke about it in depth and as a club we are completely against racism and all for equal opportunity," McNamara told reporters. Catalans Dragons' Israel Folau remains standing as players kneel in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. "But there were some players and staff who made the decision not to take the knee. Read More