Folau not taking knee ‘personal choice’

Folau not taking knee ‘personal choice’

Israel Folau
Israel Folau recently extended his contract with Catalans Dragons until the end of the 2021 season

Israel Folau made a “personal choice” not to take a knee before Sunday’s Super League defeat by St Helens, says Dragons head coach Steve McNamara.

The majority of players from both sides took a knee before kick-off in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“As a group of players and coaching staff, we spoke about it in depth,” ex-England coach McNamara said after the34-6 loss at Emerald Headingley.

“As a club we are completely against racism and all for equal opportunity.”

McNamara added: “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.”

The sight of competitors taking a knee before events to highlight racial inequality has become a regular one in recent weeks, but a number of sportspeople have chosen not to do so.

Several Formula 1 drivers haveworn anti-racism shirts and stayed standing during pre-race demonstrationssince the sport’s return last month, while Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaacbecame the first NBA player not to kneel during the national anthemsince the league resumed last week.

Cross-code Australia international Folau, 31, signed a one-year contract with Catalans in January, having been sacked by Rugby Australia in 2019 for making homophobic comments on social media.

The centre made three appearances for the French club before the suspension of the Super League season because of the coronavirus pandemic, and recentlyextended his dealby a further year.

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