An Australian rugby player, prepping to try out for the National Football League (NFL), stirred controversy recently by suggesting Jews were responsible for killing Jesus Christ.
Jarryd Hayne, 27, took to Twitter nearly two weeks ago with the millennia-old anti-Semitic trope, which has fueled thousands of years of Christian bloodshed against Jews.
“Jesus wanted to help people but was killed by his own people,” the San Francisco 49ers hopeful wrote on July 1, angering followers on the social media site.
Instead of apologizing, Hayne continued with the claim on July 2, writing: “The Jews were the people who took him [Jesus] to the Romans n [sic] forced them to give the order because they couldn’t.”
The incendiary tweets were only deleted this past Friday morning after one of Australia's largest media companies contacted Hayne's manager, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Friday.
Chairman of the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission, Dvir Abramovich, was appalled by Hayne's tweets, calling them "damaging, painful and irresponsible."
"For thousands of years Jews were held in contempt and were persecuted and murdered because they were labelled as Christ-killers," he said in a statement.
"Rather than fueling anti-Semitism, we need sportspeople to be powerful voices in countering racism and Jewish-hatred, especially when attacks against Jews worldwide are on the increase."
Hayne's manager, Wayne Beavis, however, brushed off the tweets as "just a personal comment."