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New York Freedom sacks Williams over social media rant on Hayne verdict

Former Test and Origin star Tony Williams has been sacked by the New York Freedom over his social media rant following the guilty verdict in former teammate Jarryd Hayne's sexual assault trial.

Williams had signed last week to play in the new North American Rugby League competition but the club issued a statement on Friday to say: "We cannot control what others do, but we can control how we respond.

"In light of the comments made by Tony Williams, his contract with New York Freedom has been terminated."

New York’s signing of Williams had been seen as a huge boost for the new competition.

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

"Tony spoke for himself, via his own social media channel of which the club has no control.

"New York Freedom understands the hurt caused by these comments and takes this issue very seriously.

"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 orientated environment."

We are dedicated to growing the great sport of rugby league and are committed to it always being an inclusive, safe and family orientated environment.

New York Freedom

The North American Rugby League released a statement saying they "wholeheartedly support the New York Freedom’s decision to terminate the contract of Tony Williams".

Williams, who represented Australia and Tonga at international level and played three Origins for NSW, has been playing for the Windsor Wolves in the Ron Massey Cup after being released by Manly at the end of last season.

He was due to move to the United States next month, ahead of New York Freedom’s historic first match against Cleveland on June 19.

He had posted on social media: "Before I let this be just want to congratulate the victim and the so called justice system you’ve sent an innocent brotherly to jail away from he’s kids you bunch of flops … that’s all respectively."

Hayne on Thursday was sentenced to jail for five years and nine months with a minimum non-parole period of three years and eight months after he was found guilty of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent after meeting a woman in Newcastle in September 2018.

 

If you or someone you know is affected by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.