Australian rugby star Israel Folau has been dropped by sportswear brand Asics after he wrote a post on Instagram last month saying “hell awaits” gay people.
Folau, a devout Christian who has made 73 appearances for the Wallabies, was found guilty of a “high-level” breach of Rugby Australia’s code of conduct in a hearing Tuesday.
The 30-year-old’s Australia contract was terminated in April, but Folau requested the hearing and a three-person panel is expected to make its decision in the coming weeks.
Asics, however, has distanced itself from Folau because of the post, which listed “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters,” reading underneath, “Hell awaits you.”
“Asics is dedicated to sports and its healthy contribution to society,” read a statement from the global sportswear brand, which became a sponsor of Australian rugby in 2014. “We believe sport is for everyone and we champion inclusivity and diversity.
“While Israel Folau is entitled to his personal views, some of those expressed in recent social media posts are not aligned with those of Asics.
“As such, our partnership with Israel has become untenable and he will no longer represent Asics as a brand ambassador.”
Folau, who has regularly appeared in posters and advertisements for Asics, said after his hearing Tuesday that he is “at peace” and that his “head is held high.”
The fullback, whose Australia contract was set to run until 2022, has previously been warned about his conduct on social media.
Last year, he was warned by Rugby Australia after making a comment saying that gay people would go to hell unless they repented.