Rugby League star Israel Folau decided not to take a knee ahead of his return to action in the Super League with the Catalan Dragons, opting to stay standing instead.
Folau was the only person on the field who remained standing, with the other 25 players from both the Dragons, St Helens and the referee taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 31-year-old made the move back to Rugby League last year after he was sacked by Rugby Australia for saying that “hell awaits” gay people.
Folau’s head coach Steve McNamara has defended Folau’s decision not to take a knee, saying the club would “respect anyone’s personal choice on the matter”.
McNamara said: “As a group of players and coaching staff, we spoke about it in depth and as a club we are completely against racism and all for equal opportunity.
“But there were some players and staff who made the decision not to take the knee.
“That was based on personal choice, they have their own reasons for doing that, and we decided we would respect anyone’s personal choice on the matter.”
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Speaking on Sky Sports, Rugby League legend Martin Offiah asked Folau to explain why he opted against taking a knee, saying: “It shows you that life is not black and white, he’s a complex, controversial character, Israel.
“Why he didn’t take the knee? We’ll only know if we go and ask him after the game. It’s interesting to see he stood up. You need to put a microphone in front of Israel and get him to speak for himself.
“It’s a complex issue as I say I don’t believe… even with Israel’s first comments which brought him into world notoriety he said he did it from a point of love and his own understanding.
“So it would just be interesting to understand what that point is because were here in the dark, and I don’t think Steve McNamara knows.”
Folau’s Catalans were beaten 34-6 by St Helens.
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