Australia

Gary Ablett explains why he unliked Israel Folau's social media post

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Geelong star Gary Ablett has used an Easter message to explain why he liked and unliked Israel Folau's controversial social media post.

Geelong's Gary Ablett Jnr has explained why he unliked Israel Folau's controversial post, with the AFL star saying he had not meant to cause offence.

Ablett posted a Biblical quote on Instagram for Easter and with it he gave an explanation for why he liked and unliked Folau's post.

"There has been a lot of coverage about Israel Folau’s post this week. It saddens me and my family to see how the coverage of this story has played out," he posted.

"I want to make it clear that I love ALL people regardless of race, religion, gender or sexuality.

"I have always admired how strong Izzy is in his faith, it is not easy to share faith in the public sphere, and this is why I initially 'liked' his post. 

"I understand that liking this post appeared offensive and this is why I chose to remove my 'like' from the post. 

"As a Christian, I believe that God sent his one and only son Jesus to die on the cross so that anyone can come to have an intimate and personal relationship with him.

"This is the core message behind why I believe we celebrate Easter.

"I also believe that we are all sinners, that no one including myself is exempt from this and this is why Jesus died for us so that we could all be forgiven by God. God is a loving God and I pray that everyone will come to experience that same love as I have. Happy Easter everyone!"

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has said Ablett and Carlton's Matthew Kennedy were spoken to by their clubs for liking the post and that they then unliked it.

Rugby Australia has terminated Folau's contract for the post, but he will challenge the decision at a code of conduct hearing.

Folau is in trouble for sharing the post that said hell awaited "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators".

The post added that they should repent as only Jesus saves.

Ablett, who is also deeply religious, marked Easter Saturday by sharing the well-known New Testament quote: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

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