Asics End Partnership With Israel Folau
Following the rugby union star’s homophobic social media post last month, sportswear brand Asics have ended their partnership with Australian Israel Folau.
This comes after a code of conduct hearing held on Tuesday found him guilty of a high-level breach of Rugby Australia’s professional player’s code of conduct.
Asics announced they had severed the partnership with the New South Wales Waratahs full-back through a Facebook post which stated he had already been warned over his previous homophobic comments in 2018.
‘Asics is dedicated to sport and its healthy contribution to society,’ the Asics statement said.
‘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‘As such, our partnership with Israel has become untenable and he will no longer represent Asics as a brand ambassador.’
This is the second instance of Folau losing a brand partnership, after Land Rover, another Rugby Australia sponsor, withdrew a car issued to him as a result of the homophobic comments he made in 2018.
Immediately following the initial backlash from Folau’s comments last month, Australian Beer Company general manager, Tony Scanlan, said Folau’s comments are totally unacceptable, but they will remain partners of Rugby Australia and the Wallabies.
“As a sponsor of the Wallabies, we find Israel Folau’s comments totally unacceptable,” Mr Scanlan said.
“They are at odds with the culture and values of inclusivity and respect for others that Australian Beer Company supports.
“We share Rugby Australia’s value of inclusivity and believe they have made the right call in condemning his comments and taking strong action against Folau,” he said.
Following the code of conduct hearing that found Folau guilty of a high-level breach, a three-person panel is set to determine his official punishment.
The potential outcomes at this stage for Folau, are a complete termination from Rugby Australia, suspension or fine.