Vunipola receives warning from Saracens over controversial comments

Billy Vunipola was formally warned for his controversial social media comments in support of homophobic Israel Folau on Monday night by Saracens – but will not be fined or banned.
The England No 8 held lengthy discussions with his club on Monday and has moved to clarify his Instagram post, which he sent out on Friday.
Vunipola, commenting on the back-lash that Australian full-back Folau received for saying that 'hell awaits' homosexuals if they did not repent, wrote that that 'man was made for woman to procreate'.
He was subsequently dropped by Channel 4's rugby coverage and then booed when he played against Bristol at Ashton Gate on Saturday.
While Rugby Australia will sack Folau, 30, for his second anti-gay outburst in a year, and said on Monday he had 48 hours to accept that verdict or face a code-of-conduct hearing, Vunipola has now explained his own views but stopped short of apologising to the LGBT community.
'I can see that my recent post has hurt people,' said the England forward with Tongan heritage whose mother is a Methodist minister.
'My intention was never to cause suffering. My intention was to express my belief in the word of God.
'These beliefs are a source of great strength, comfort and guidance in my life.
'This is deeply personal and does not represent the views of my team. Anyone who knows me, knows I live with kindness and love towards ALL people.
'I have faith. My Christian faith has sustained me through the ups and many downs of my life. God has given and continues to give me many reasons in life to be grateful.'
Saracens consider the matter closed, but Vunipola will now meet the RFU for similar discussions in the coming days.
It is very unlikely that the No 8 will be suspended for matches, as this is his first offence of this type, but like Saracens Twickenham chiefs are set to remind Vunipola of his responsibilities as an England player.
Vunipola is available for selection for the English champions' Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against Munster this Saturday.
'At Saracens, we are one family, open to all with the firm view that everyone should be treated equally with respect and humility,' a club statement read.
'We recognise the complexity of different belief systems and understand Billy's intention was to express the word of God rather than cause offence.
'However, he made a serious error of judgement in publicly sharing his opinion, which is inconsistent with the values of the club and contravenes his contractual obligations.
'The player has been formally warned about his future conduct.'
On Folau, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said: 'Getting out in that disrespectful manner publicly is not what this team is about.
'When you play in the gold jersey, you represent everyone in Australia. You do not pick and choose. I have not been able to speak to Israel yet. I have left messages. There is no beef.'
And Chief Executive, Raelene Castle added: 'At its core, this is an issue of the responsibilities an employee owes to their employer and the commitments they make to their employer to abide by their employer's policies and procedures and adhere to their employer's values.
'Following the events of last year, Israel was warned formally and repeatedly about the expectations of him as player for the Wallabies and NSW Waratahs with regards to social media use and he has failed to meet those obligations.
'It was made clear to him that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action.'

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