Who is Maria Folau? Liz Ellis clarifies comments on Israel Folau’s wife


Australia's most capped netball Liz Ellis has clarified her comments against “mesmerizing” Maria Folau, saying her “real beef” with Netball bosses who refused to swiftly condemn homophobia.

On Monday, Ellis slammed the diplomatic stances of both Netball Australia and South Australia after they continued to support Israel Folau’s wife after she reposted his request for donations.

READ: One unresolved question at heart of Folau case

Netball Australia said there was "no action required" as the Kiwi player did not violate its social media policy and it would "continue to support Maria as a member of the Thunderbirds and the Suncorp Super Netball league."

"Yeah nah not good enough," Ellis tweeted.

"How about this: There is no room for homophobia in our game. Anyone who is seen to support or endorse homophobia is not welcome. As much as I love watching @MariaFolau play netball I do not want my sport endorsing the views of her husband. "

Your tweet received over 1500 replies with the topic once again showing a divide among the nation as people fought for and against the issue.

In an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, Ellis clarified her issue was not with Maria and called her "one of the most mesmerizing, enigmatic and skilful goal attacks ever to play our game".

Instead, she called out Super Netball and the Adelaide Thunderbirds again for failing to take a strong stance on the issue, saying her "real beef" was with organizers who failed to act swiftly.

"I understand that my tweet was interpreted to mean I get it. It was poorly worded from that point of view, "she wrote.

"I would like to think we are well past the time where a woman is Just because she is married to people who state that things have been disputed, and that many people (included) find abhorrent, does not mean that she has to answer for him.

"Until, of course, she re-posted something that is clearly related to those views.

"Who's running our sport," Ellis wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Ellis, who played 122 games for the Australian team, retired from the game in 2007 and said the organizations should have gone further.

"The statements from the Thunderbirds and from Super Netball did not go enough, and were not good enough," she wrote.

READ: Rival campaign launched to counter Folau

"They could have given Mary her wrist, but combined it with something so much stronger." To say without equivocation, without weasel words, that homophobia is not welcome in our sport. To me, it was a lost opportunity to say to LGBTQI players, both in the league and in the suburbs, they are welcome, they are wanted and supported. "

Netball New Zealand released to statement on Tuesday confirming it would stand beside Maria Folau. In a statement, Netball NZ said: "Maria Folau has not breached NNZ policy."

“Netball New Zealand values ​​inclusion and diversity whether its gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality, religion, and we take responsibility as role models for young New Zealanders very seriously.

"We acknowledge that people have different views and beliefs. It is important those opinions and views are expressed in constructive and respectful ways. "

Maria will return to Auckland this week for the Silver Ferns and the preparations for the upcoming.

The 32-year-old formerly known as Maria Tutaia, also plays for the Silver Ferns and married Israel Folau in November 2018.


Netball South Australia CEO Bronwyn Klei released a statement on Maria Folau and the federation did not know he was taking his or her own, taking a diplomatic stand.

"First and foremost, I want to be clear that Netball South Australia is fiercely determined to provide an inclusive environment that allows anyone to participate in the great game of netball regardless of gender, religious belief, age, race or sexual orientation," Klei's statement said.

"We also believe in fairness and perspective.

"Like millions of other people across Australia, Maria Folau uses her personal social media platform to share her life and believing with her family, friends and fans. This week, she shared her husband's controversial GoFundMe post.

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

"Maria is a key member of the Thunderbirds. Not only has she provided great strength and leadership on court, she works and works with netballing clinics, she spends a lot of time with fans, engages with local communities and passionately encourages kids with their netball dreams.

"We support to support our players."

The statement then went on to clarify Netball SA's position on equality in terms of gender and inclusiveness.

"To the thousands of people that play netball across South Australia every week:

"Netball SA is not endorsing Maria's repost.

“Netball SA is committed to diversity and inclusion.

"Netball SA and the Adelaide Thunderbirds support and encourage everyone to want to play this great game."

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