Israel Folau has found an ally in broadcast heavyweight Alan Jones after Rugby Australia vowed to terminate the contract of the Wallabies star after he posted an image which included anti-gay sentiment to Instagram this week.
Folau, 30, was widely slammed for calling on "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters" to repent for their sins or else "hell awaits" them.
But Jones, a Wallabies coach, is pointing the finger at Rugby Australia.
"Rugby Australia are only worried about the quids, they're only worried about the sponsorship," Jones said on his 2GB radio show on Friday morning.
"That's why they asked Israel to sign a contract in which he wouldn't say this and he wouldn't say that and that his views would be consistent with (Rugby Australia sponsor) Qantas.
"He's made comments about religion — who will end up heaven and who will end up in hell. Who cares? It's an opinion. I don't necessarily agree with what he said, by the way, but a lot of people don't agree with what I say.
"We're going down a very, very narrow road here and this has gone on and on and on this crap. I'm telling you, out there people are terrified of saying anything. They are frightened, they don't know what they can say.
"We're on a slippery slope here ... it's got nothing to do with Israel, or rugby, or religion, or homosexuals, or whatever. Where are we in this country on free speech?"
It comes after Hillsong pastor Brian Houston deleted a Twitter statement in which he spoke out against Israel Folau in the wake of his latest social media controversy.
Houston, whose Sydney-based church is one of the largest in the world, wrote Folau's "way is not the right way".
"So sad about the (Israel Folau) situation. His way is not the right way," Houston tweeted. "It does not reflect the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament is clear, but grace does not point fingers. It recognises our own sinfulness. 'But by the grace of God'."