Legal

Shannen Findlay

Heartbreaking decision – is Israel Folau’s wife risking it all?

Heartbreaking decision – is Israel Folau’s wife risking it all?

It has been almost two years since Maria Tutaia married her rugby star husband, Israel Folau, in November 2017.

The journey has proven not to be easy; Maria has stood by her embattled husband even if it means risking her own career as well.

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A post shared by MARIA FOLAU (@mariatutaia) on Nov 1, 2018 at 9:47pm PDT

As Folau prepares for a major legal fight to save his own career, after he was sacked from Rugby Australia last month for publicly voicing his anti-gay beliefs, his 32-year-old wife has used her own social media platforms to back him.

But there are concerns the professional New Zealander netballer could be at risk of jeopardising her own career by showing her public support.

Last week, she publicly donated her own money to his legal battle, Folau telling his own donors when setting up his GoFundMe page that he and Maria had “already spent over $100,000".

However, the Adelaide Thunderbirds – the team Maria plays for – has released their own statement on her public endorsement of her husband.

“While Netball SA in no way endorses the reposting, we do not believe Maria has contravened our social media policy,” the organisation said.

The club also went on to say Maria was a good ambassador for the sport, by taking part in youth and community projects to inspire other young players to pursue a career professionally.

However, other professional players do not see eye to eye with the Adelaide Netball Club.

Aussie Netball legend Liz Ellis took to Twitter calling for Maria to be sacked.

“Anyone who is seen to support or endorse homophobia is not welcome,” she wrote.

“As much as I love watching @MariaFolau play netball I do not want my sport endorsing the views of her husband.”

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A post shared by MARIA FOLAU (@mariatutaia) on May 24, 2018 at 12:00am PDT

Maria is currently training for next month’s World Cup in Auckland where she will play for the national New Zealand team in the UK. 

She will be sure to face a number of uncomfortable questions regarding her personal beliefs.

Netball New Zealand said in a statement the professional sportswoman had not broken any social media policy.