Israel Folau's rugby career could be over but Dean Ritchie believes he should be welcomed back into the NRL.
Israel Folau's rugby career could be over but Dean Ritchie believes he should be welcomed back into the NRL.

Why NRL should welcome back Israel Folau

I WILL no doubt stand accused of being out-of-step with community expectations but I firmly believe Israel Folau should be allowed back into the NRL.

Folau has been condemned and attacked for his controversial religious tweet which offended multiple groups across society.

He was told not to post such inflammatory tweets by Rugby Australia - but did so anyway.

But is this a crime that should end his sporting career? Take away his livelihood?

The last time I checked, this is a free country. You may not agree with Folau's post and many have found it profoundly offensive.

But surely he is entitled to a view. It's not wrong because many don't agree. It's an opinion. We all have them.

The NRL is about giving sportsmen a second chance. Redemption.

Matt Lodge was allowed back into the game after viciously assaulting a family in New York.

Israel Folau's rugby career could be over but Dean Ritchie believes he should be welcomed back into the NRL. Picture: Getty
Israel Folau's rugby career could be over but Dean Ritchie believes he should be welcomed back into the NRL. Picture: Getty

Other players have been invited back despite assaulting women, drink driving, taking drugs and domestic violence.

Is Folau's crime any worse than that? The answer is no. Should Folau agree to respect rugby league - and the game's values - then he should return.

Folau is superstar, a player who would thrive again in the week-to-week intensity of NRL.

Who are we to tell Folau what his views should be? Who are we to ask Folau to back down from his devout religious beliefs? Is he a bad person? Are we better than him? No.

I didn't necessarily agree with aspects of his contentious tweet but I'm not going to join a line of sheep in openly criticising him.

If you don't agree with the majority these days, you are panned on social media.

Could we see Folau back in NRL colours next year?
Could we see Folau back in NRL colours next year?

I am sick and tired of society telling me what to think; being bagged by someone for not sharing their views. Generally, the noisy minority are heard more than the silent majority.

Folau should be allowed to express himself however he feels.

He is a role model, no doubt. But should he cave in because a tweet could be deemed offensive?

He obviously felt strong enough and proud enough of his religion to go public. It shows courage and guts in the face of enormous acrimony.

Let's hope NRL management show the same courage when deciding when Folau should be allowed back into our game.