Tony Williams has been axed by his American club and Krisnan Inu is facing an English league investigation over comments they made following former NRL teammate Jarryd Hayne’s prison sentence.
Williams and Inu both took to Instagram on Thursday night, with the former claiming an “innocent brotherly” had been sent to jail.
Williams also labelled the victim and justice system as “flops”, as part of his Instagram stories.
The posts prompted near-immediate action from the New York 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.”
Williams has since apologised via his Instagram account.
Standing by ‘a brother’
“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”
Inu’s English Super League club Salford confirmed an “internal investigation” was underway into “the social media activity of one of our players” while the governing Rugby Football League confirmed it had referred the matter to its compliance department.
Inu’s post claimed justice was not served “to its proper intent”.
“Because the things that was said about my boy, wasn’t what he’s about. Never has, never will be,” he wrote.
The former winger later posted that he “don’t support any rapist”, and that the issue was close to home for him given he’d “seen first-hand what victims go through”.
Hayne, Inu and Williams all played together early in their careers at Parramatta, while Williams and Hayne also linked up 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.
He has since given notice that he intends to appeal, while the NRL are also considering stripping his two Dally M medals from 2009 and 2014.
End of the road?
The Freedom’s decision meanwhile 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.