Nigel Owens: Homophobic comments in rugby harming young people

Author
Newstalk ZB ,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 11:07AM
Israel Folau has been fired by Rugby Australia over homophobic comments. (Photo / Getty)

One of rugby's top referees says that homophobic comments are hurting the younger generation.

It comes amid allegations three Crusaders rugby players exhibited homophobic behaviour following their recent match in Cape Town.

Last week, Wallabies player Israel Folau has his contract terminated after he came under fire for posts he made on social media.

Openly gay international referee Nigel Owens told Mike Hosking the impact these comments have can't be underestimated.

"Can you imagine if you are 16, 17 years of age, a young person struggling with sexuality, and then to read this. It really, really is a horrible situation to be in."

He says that Folau's initial comments did hurt him, but knows that it would be more hurtful for those who are still coming to terms with their sexuality. 

Owens does not take pleasure in Folau loses his career. However, he says that Folau should have had to take responsibility for his comments. 

"I'm all for the freedom of speech and for people to believe in what they believe in, but there have to be consequences."  

He believes that if Rugby Australia had not taken these actions, it would have left rugby in a "sorry state".

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