Free speech may be a cornerstone of democratic countries, but employers often have the power to deny that freedom of expression to their employees and employers do that when an employee says things that could impact profits.
Profits are what keep businesses afloat, so the balancing act between democracy and capitalism is often out of whack.
Put simply, Israel Folau chose the wrong time and the wrong group about which to express his opinion.
It requires faith to believe in his views and a world that is now predominantly secular and non-sacred is increasingly reluctant to accept faith-based arguments.
Even though the vast majority cares little about the musings and rants of a footballer whose time in the limelight will be brief, Rugby Australia has seen fit to come down on the side of political correctness while coming down hard on Folau.
Could the instantaneous nature of modern communication be part of the reason?
Prior to 2007 and the introduction of the smart phone, it is very likely that outside of the immediate environment, no one would have known and fewer cared what was rumbling around in the mind of Folau.
He bears the responsibility for having clicked “send,” or whatever is clicked in order to post the inner workings of our minds for the eyes of millions.
An independent panel has determined that Folau committed a “high level” breach of the players’ code of conduct, even if said code says nothing specific with regard to what Folau said and how he said it.
It is always easier to sort thorny issues such as these if it is possible to follow the money.
Folau could see his four-year $AUD 4 million contract terminated just because he expressed piety and like many of the pious, extracted the sections of Scripture that suited his purposes.
If the panel sitting in judgement had viewed Folau’s comments as something less than “high level,” (which makes us wonder if there is a “medium level”), Rugby Australia would have been powerless to ban Folau.
The Tribunal has now gone into recess to determine what is to be done with/to Folau.
As for the list of people Folau chose to attack, eight types, we ourselves might occupy more than half those types, but Folau’s admonition was nothing more than a blip for us.