Australia

Former NRL player Tony Williams sacked by US club over comments about Jarryd Hayne’s prison sentence

Former NRL player Tony Williams has been axed by his new club the New York Freedom over social media comments about Jarryd Hayne’s prison sentence.

Williams was one of two former teammates to take to Instagram on Thursday, claiming an “innocent brotherly” had been sent to jail.

The former Kangaroos second-rower also labelled the victim and justice system as “flops”, as part of his Instagram stories.

The posts prompted near-immediate action from the Freedom, who signed Williams last month as the highest-profile recruit in the new North American Rugby League.

“In light of the recent comments made by Tony Williams regarding the sentencing of Jarryd Hayne, New York Freedom can confirm that the contract between Tony and the club has been terminated,” the club said in a statement.

“New York Freedom condemns Tony’s comments, and his opinions are not the opinions of the New York Freedom or any party involved with the club.

“As a club we are dedicated to growing the great sport of rugby league and are committed to it always being an inclusive, safe and family-oriented environment.”

Williams has since apologised via his Instagram account.

“To anyone that I may of (sic) offended I speak from the heart and most of time it’s out of anger a brother had been convicted it isn’t easy to take,” Williams posted.

“People that know me know that I’m loyal and loving and sometimes gets the best of me but will never leave a brothers (sic) back when he needs me to hold him up.

“I apologise for the choice of words I used and to anyone that I have caused hurt.

“Especially to people that support me. Sorry.”

Hayne and Williams played together at Parramatta, both in the early part of their careers as well as in the disgraced star’s final season.

Hayne was on Thursday sentenced to five years and nine months in prison after being found guilty of sexual assault, with a non-parole period of three years and eight months.

The former two-time Dally M Medallist has since given notice that he intends to appeal.

The Freedom’s decision leaves 32-year-old Williams’ career in the balance.

He played the last of his 170 NRL games for Parramatta in 2018, before his contract was torn up for a second positive test to “illicit and hazardous drugs”.

The former NSW State of Origin player returned to Manly, but was unable to get a game in 2019 and 2020 before joining the New York outfit for this year.



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