About a month ago, I wrote a piece about sportsmanship and referenced Israel Folou’s tweet in replying to a question about God’s plan for homosexuals.
I was critical of Izzy because I felt he had a duty to his employer not to make comments that could cause harm to the ARU.
I was wrong. That’s right, I was wrong. I am usually right, but when I am wrong, I will put my hand up and admit it.
It finally dawned on me after someone told me that Izzy had tweeted a sermon from some American evangelist named David Wilkerson, who died in 2011.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t listen to the sermon. There are a number of reasons. Firstly I’m not on Twitter. Second, I’ve lost interest in Izzy’s views.
Predictably, sports talk back radio went into overdrive about Izzy and his views. And that’s when it hit me. Raylene Castle loves Izzy’s social media profile, because while people are taking about Izzy, they are not talking the real story in Rugby.
Australian Rugby is a basket case.
On Saturday night, in front of a crowd of about 15,000 the best provincial team in Australia, the Waratahs, went down to the worst provincial team in New Zealand, the Blues. It has been over 700 days since an Australian team has beaten a Kiwi side.
Let’s put that in perspective. Since our last win against the Kiwis, the Summer AND Winter Olympics have come and gone.
The last time we beat the Kiwi’s in super rugby, Barack Obama was President of the USA.
That’s right, Donald Trump was just a reality TV star, telling people “you’re fired”.
Barnaby Joyce was also still happily married to his wife of 25 years Natalie with whom he has four daughters.
And the man currently leading the Dally M’s, Kalyn Ponga had not yet tuned 18 and hadn’t even made his NRL debut.
So while Raylene Castle is publicly telling how this has been the hardest issue she had to deal with in all her years as a sports administrator, something tells me that privately, she could be jumping for joy.
People are debating freedom of speech instead of poor onfield performance.
People are standing with Izzy, instead of asking why crowds are so poor.
On the same night that about 15,000 people turned up at Brookvale, a capacity crowd of 33,000 packed into Hunter Stadium to watch the Jets go down to the Victory. That was the night after over 22,000 people (including yours truly) watched the mighty Bunnies beat the Knights at the same venue.
On April 28, just over 8000 rugby fans watched the Brumbies go down to the Crusaders at GIO Stadium in Canberra.
A week later, over 11,000 league fans attended the same venue to give the viking clap as the Raiders downed the Titans.
In Brisbane on April 22, 12,000 Reds fans filled a quarter of Suncorp Stadium to watch the Reds beat the Lions.
A week later, on a Thursday night, 22,000 cheered the Broncos against the Bulldogs.
Rugby Union is slowly dying in Australia. The only reason the last rites haven’t been read is because all the priests are giving evidence at the Royal Commission.
And remember, there’s no such thing as too much sport!
Brett Bennie is a sport tragic. He'll travel many hours just to see his favourite football team play - come rain, hail or shine. Brett has played most sports, has watched those he hasn't played and has an opinion on all of them. He's the guy you want on your trivia team when it comes to the sport questions. He's the guy who's never wrong.