Booted rugby star Israel Folau yesterday initiated court proceedings against Rugby Australia and the NSW Waratahs after mediation talks at the Fair Work Commission failed last month.
The Australian reports Folau, who says he was unfairly fired on religious grounds in May after sharing a homophobic Instagram post, is reportedly seeking an eye-watering figure in compensation and damages.
That’s in addition to a full apology and reinstatement to the Wallabies and the Waratahs.
The case reportedly rests on the argument Folau was fired for his religious beliefs, which he feels he should have been able to express without repercussions.
The counterargument: those beliefs took the form of a clearly homophobic statement which pretty handily violated his Rugby Australia contract.
As discussions broke down at the Fair Work Commission, the case will be heard by the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne.
“I have been blessed to have received the support of tens of thousands of Australians throughout my journey, and I want to say thank you to everyone who has offered their prayers and support,” Folau said in a statement, referencing the folks who punted their money into a crowdfunding campaign for his legal defence.
The Australian Christian Lobby crowdfunding campaign, instituted after GoFundMe nixed his first attempt, raised more than $2 million. Given the kind of legal muscle one can acquire for two million bucks, expect to hear about this case for a little while longer.