Ex-NRL star Tony Williams has apologised for shaming the victim of Jarryd Hayne’s sexual assault case following huge backlash to his Instagram post that included two of his contracts being torn up.
After Hayne was sentenced to five years and nine months for sexual assaulting a young woman in September, 2018, Williams took to Instagram ridiculing the victim and the justice system for sending “an innocent brotherly to jail.” He also called them “Fn dogs” and a “bunch of flops.”
As a result Williams’ current Ron Massey Cup contract with the Windsor Wolves was torn up and his 2022 contract with NARL club New York Freedom was also terminated.
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Now, Williams has apologised for the hurt he has caused and his choice of words, via his Instagram account and also The Sydney Morning Herald.
“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 on Instagram.
“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”
The 32-year-old told the Herald he is remorseful and if he could have his time over he’d choose his words differently.
“To the victim and her family, apologies,” Williams said.
“Any words that offended them, it’s not who I am. I apologise for the words I used. I hope she gets through it and lives a happy life.
“I understand I hurt a lot of people, but it wasn’t what I was trying to do.
“If I had my time again, I would have chosen my words a lot better than that.
“I do show remorse. I can’t imagine what she was going through or what happened.
“I never meant to hurt them in any way. My anger was about my mate, who I have grown up with since we were kids, going to jail. If anyone has a loyal brother or friends in the same way they will understand.
“I hope she does recover from whatever she has gone through and lives happily with her family and can move on from this.”
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Williams comes from a female dominated Polynesian family that includes six sisters. He also is the father of two daughters. He says his mum was quick to pull him up on what he had said about Hayne’s victim.
“Polynesians grow up to respect our women, respect our sisters. Whatever they say we listen,” he said.
“My mum went off at me and said, ‘What happens if it is your sister or daughter?’
“That got into my head. I understand that, it made me (realise) I said it the wrong way.
“I wasn’t targeting (Hayne’s victim).
“This stuff that happened goes against what I was taught, because my parents taught me better.
“Sometimes anger takes over what you’re really trying to express. I should have gone about it in the right way where it didn’t hurt people.
“If I did it again, I would choose my words differently.”
Williams is a friend of controversial crosscode star Israel Folau whose had a contract torn up because of his posts on social media about homosexuality. He says he now understands how Folau “feels” and has suggested that other people would come out in support of their friend if they were in a similar position.
“Now I know how (Folau) feels,” Williams said.
“You can understand how we all bond; it’s a connection we had and just had to express something.
“I know a lot of people who don’t know us would say ‘They are flops’ or whatever. They should question themselves, what they would do for their brothers and their close mates that they grew up with. Would they do the same or would they just let them burn?
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“Obviously (Hayne) is leaving his family. He’s got a kid on the way he might not see. That hurts me because I know if I wasn’t there for my kid, it would kill me.
“It came out the wrong way. I didn’t think about what I was saying about the victim and her family.”
Williams wasn’t the only former teammate of Hayne to throw their support behind the convicted sex offender.
Krisnan Inu also took to social media with some stinging words — which he has since apologised for. Inu is now being investigated by his current Super League club, Salford Red Devils.
Williams hopes other players can learn from his mistakes.
“I hope this teaches the younger guys coming up that you have to be careful with words,” he said.
“If it’s not worth it, don’t do it. A perfect example of not allowing your emotions to control your decisions.
“The consequences are not light. It’s a learning curve. Even at my age and at the end of my career, I’m still learning.
“It’s disappointing and upsetting and hopefully the younger generation can learn from it and (I can) be better as a person.”
The former Eels, Sea Eagles and Bulldogs player was due to fly to America ahead of the NARL’s inaugural season kicking off in June, while Inu’s Super League deal expires at the end of this year and he is yet to be re-signed.
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