Disgraced rugby player Israel Folau has been dropped by his major personal sponsor ASICS in response to his anti-LGBTQI social media post.
The Japanese sportswear company took action and dropped Folau’s sponsorship after it was found on Tuesday the rugby player committed a “high-level breach” of Rugby Australia’s code of conduct.
In a statement, ASICS said it is “dedicated to sport” and its “healthy contribution to society”.
“We believe sport is for everyone and we champion inclusivity and diversity. While Israel Folau is entitled to his personal views, some of those expressed in recent social media posts are not aligned with those of ASICS.”
As a result, ASIC determined its partnership with Folau has become “untenable” and he will “no longer represent ASICS as a brand ambassador.”
ASICS is not the first sponsor to cut ties with Folau.
Following his homophobic social media post where he wrote “hell awaits” for “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators”, Land Rover withdrew a car issued to him.
Last month, B&T reported on the damage Folau’s homophobic comments have done, not just for his career and personal sponsorships, but for RA’s sponsor relationships, and the sponsors themselves.
ASICS standing up and honoring their championing of diversity and inclusion in sport is a noble move for the brand, and will no doubt act in its favour.
Folau requested a code of conducted hearing following Rugby Australia’s decision to sack him, yet a three-person panel deemed he had indeed committed a high-level breach.
The panel is currently writing submissions ahead of announcing what sanction Folau will be issued with.
He was warned this time last year about making homophobic comments on social media but at the time, managed to escape any disciplinary action.