An Australian Rugby League player claims his career has been “ruined”, after he was suspended for a homophobic slur posted on his Twitter account.

Grayson Goodwin, who plays for the Cabramatta Two Blues, has received a 26-week ban for the message, which claimed gay referees shouldn’t be allowed.

The tweet, which read “Gay refs shouldn’t be allowed to ref because they r so shit”, was posted from Goodwin’s account during the South Sydney v Tigers game on March 21, which involved openly gay referee Matt Checcin.

According to the Australian Daily Telegraph, Goodwin claimed to the New South Wales Rugby League that the message was posted by a friend of his while he was in the toilet.

He claims he only saw the message after it had already been retweeted 30 times, and immediately deleted it.

He said: “I came back from the toilet and he gave me my phone back … I looked at it a couple of minutes later and I had about 30 Twitter notifications.

“I opened my account and saw the Tweet and deleted it straight away.

“I told my mate off and I forgot all about it. The post was only up for eight minutes.

“Next thing I know I am being asked to attend a meeting with the NSWRL. I got a letter saying I had breached my contract and had to attend a meeting on the Wednesday.

“I walked in thinking I was having a meeting with one person and there were eight people and a lawyer asking me if I had a lawyer too. I felt like I had killed someone.

“My mate owned up but the tribunal was of the opinion the account was mine and so was the phone. My career has been ruined and I can’t play at all.

Goodwin chose to speak out after NRL player Mitchell Moses was suspended for just two games, after he was heard calling an opponent a “f**ing gay c**t” on a live broadcast of his match.