Half a million dollars has been raised to help sacked rugby star and committed Christian Israel Folau "stand up for the word of God" in his legal fight against Rugby Australia.
Folau had his $4 million Rugby Australia contract terminated in May after a post he made on social media citing the Bible was deemed homophobic. It followed a similar incident last year.
A Go Fund Me page established by the ex-Wallaby to raise funds for legal costs in his bid for reinstatement had passed $500,000 ($525,754) by lunchtime on Saturday. About 6500 people have donated.
The spike in donations came despite reports Folau has a property portfolio worth close to A$7 million across NSW and Queensland.
Folau's decision to take his fight to Go Fund Me has prompted a sharp backlash.
"From our perspective (Go Fund Me) is a place where sick children get support, so it's certainly not a strategy we think is appropriate," Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle told Nine News.
Former Wallabies teammate Drew Mitchell also slammed Folau's decision, saying there were others more deserving of donations.
"YOU are in a fight that YOU chose to be in after YOU broke the terms of YOUR contract, the kids below are in a fight they NEVER wanted to be in & yet YOU think YOU deserve donations more than they do??!!," he posted on Twitter.
But former Australian Christian Lobby chief Lyle Shelton defended Folau, saying "if Israel loses, we all do".
Folau has stressed his decision to pursue Rugby Australia in further legal action is motivated purely by his Christian principles and is not about money.
However, his public plea for millions, despite having amassed more than A$10 million in salary payments alone during his career in the NRL, AFL and rugby, left many Australian fans and commentators with a bitter taste in their mouths.
Folau's biggest claim in his first interview with 2GB's Alan Jones on Friday morning was that his legal pursuit of Rugby Australia is not being motivated by money in any way — and he is being driven purely by the principles of his Christian faith.
"It's been a tough few months for myself and my wife Maria and my family," he said.
"A lot of this stuff doesn't make any sense, you know. It's been a little bit inconsistent. It's been tough.
"My principles and my faith is what's been driving me from the get go.
"The goal for me is to stand up and to stand up for the word of god. That's what's most important to me."
He maintains that Rugby Australia never excluded him from expressing his faith on social media — as long as he did it in a respectful way.
He says quoting the passage of the bible that he did was still respectful to the people targeted, which included "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters".
"When I share things from the bible it comes from a place of love and wanting people to understand that I'm not speaking to them personally," Folau said on Friday.
"There's things that the bible might go against, things that people are doing, but from my perspective, I'm all about doing that from a place of love and believing in the bible that if people have an opportunity to hear that so that if they do choose to repent and turn away from that then they have an opportunity to be in heaven one day, which is what I long for people to do."
The former NRL and AFL star said earlier he has already spent more than $100,000 of his own money in fees which are expected to rise to millions of dollars.
The 30-year-old also said he was "shocked" after hearing two particular public comments from star teammates Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps.
Phipps two weeks ago said there were a lot of players in the Waratahs' dressing room "extremely disappointed" with Folau. He claimed Folau's saga "distracted" the team and threw them of the rails this Super Rugby season.
Foley said in April, Folau had "hurt the team" by putting his interests ahead of the entire playing group.
Folau finally got his chance to respond to the backlash on Friday, suggesting his teammates may have simply said what they were told to by rugby officials.
"It's quite a shock, whether or not that was really what they meant, I don't take any of those things personal," Folau told 2GB.
"To me, I have no harsh feelings towards them.
"When I first heard it was a bit of a shock, but I have no harsh words towards them."
"I believe the termination of my contract is unlawful, which is why I have started legal proceedings against Rugby Australia and Rugby NSW," Folau, who also posted a video on his own website, said on the GoFundMe website.
"In response, Rugby Australia have already said that they will 'divert significant resources' to fight me in court.
"Even if I win, Rugby Australia can appeal. There is every chance that a prominent test case like this could take years and eventually end up in the High Court of Australia.
"My wife Maria and I have already spent over $100,000 of our own money and that was just to try and deal with Rugby Australia's internal tribunal processes. The money I am asking for is solely to fund the rest of my action in court.
"I know I am putting myself on the line — this action will be very costly in terms of time, money and reputation — but I do not intend to stop now.
"I would be very grateful for your support."