The New Zealand Falcons, the country’s national gay and inclusive rugby team, have received a tidal wave of support in the wake of Israel Folau's anti-gay comments.
Folau’s controversial comments on Instagram caused a flurry of debate in the media. The devout Christian told a fan that God’s plan for gay people was “HELL”.
NZ Falcons player Alex Cairns told Wendyl Nissen the issue is not about disclosing one’s beliefs.
“No one is questioning that,” Cairns said.
Instead, he has slammed Folau for voicing his opinion on Instagram in an aggressive manner.
“I don’t think he’s quite aware that he has a captive audience and the things he can say can have a really negative impact on people who are struggling with their sexuality,” Cairns told RadioLIVE.
But the Wallabies player has defended his choice to voice his beliefs.
According to a PlayersVoice feature written by Folau, he told Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle that it was “never my intention to hurt anyone with the Instagram.”
“… But that I could never shy away from who I am, or what I believe,” Folau wrote.
Cairns clarified that that people, especially with influence, should be aware of the consequences of what they say.
“The youths are quite influenced by role models such as Folau,” he said.
Cairns applauded those athletes with influence who’ve condemned Folau’s comments.
All Blacks Brad Weber and TJ Perenara have both spoken out against Folau's comments, with Mr Perenara even making a donation to the Falcons.
Weber lashed out at Folau on Tuesday night, displaying disgust at the Australian international's view and sending love to close members of his family that are gay.
If you’d like to make a donation to the NZ Falcons, click here.
Listen to the full interview with Alex Cairns above.
The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.