Senior Australian rugby players felt unable to publicly support teammate Israel Folau due to pressure from the sport’s governing body, according to an Australian newspaper.
Folau’s playing contract was terminated over a social media post quoting the Bible.
He later reached a settlement with Rugby Australia (RA) and received an apology.
It has been reported that senior internationals Sekope Kepu and Samu Kerevi submitted statements in support of Folau to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in November.
But both players felt that they were prevented from speaking to the media about the case by RA.
Kerevi wrote that Folau was being punished for simply “expressing his faith” and the treatment was inconsistent with discipline for other players.
He added: “At the time I wanted to support Israel publicly. I couldn’t because the players were told by management not to comment on the issue.”
RA chief Raelene Castle has denied the claims.
In December, RA and Folau reached a settlement. It acknowledged Folau had posted “genuinely held religious beliefs” and had not intended to hurt or offend people.
RA also apologised for “any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus”.
The parties settled for a confidential payment. The former rugby union star had been suing Rugby Australia for A$14m (£7.4m).
Last month French team Catalans Dragons, who play in the English Super League, signed Folau.
Now, rival team Hull KR has contacted the Dragons warning of legal action if it suffers “financial loss”.
The hostile moves are in marked contrast to the relatively silent response to a player found guilty of drink-driving and using illegal drugs.
In 2018, Wigan full-back Zak Hardaker was found to be more than two-times over the drink-drive limit.
In 2017, he and two other Super League players tested positive for cocaine.