By Ana Tausinga
Since the controversy surrounding Israel Folau’s “homophobic” post on Instagram last year, the media has been relentless in attacking Folau’s every move. The latest skirmish is Folau not taking a knee for Black Lives Matter during the UK Super League kick-off game, as Catalans Dragons lost to St Helens, this past weekend.
Just to be clear, Black Lives Matter is a controversial social movement that started in the United States in 2013, which claims the police unfairly targets African American, and calls for eradication of racism. However, the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement has now become a global phenomenon.
Most recently, the BLM movement has morphed into calling for the defunding of the Police as a means to dismantle police brutality rooted in racism. Which to many, it is unrealistic as the police is necessary for maintaining law and order in society.
In response to the controversy, Dragon’s coach, Steve McNamara, defended Folau’s decision to stand alone, despite everyone else taking a knee in solidarity with BLM.
“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,” he 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.”
Other athletes took to social media, asking why Folau did not kneel.
Some backed Folau with ex-rugby league star Leon Pryce tweeting, “Nobody should feel like they are forced to do anything they are not comfortable with.”
One thing is clear, the media has a fascination with Israel Folau. Given that Folau is a minority, does covert racism play a factor in this media obsession? Supporting any social movement is a personal choice, the media should not persecute individuals for exercising their natural right under the law.