The 36-year-old stepped down as Australia’s Test skipper on Friday after it emerged that he had sent unsolicited explicit image of himself along with a string of lewd messages to a female co-worker in 2017, months before he was made captain.
“I can’t talk about the 2018 decision, I wasn’t there. But I am saying based on the facts as they are today the board of Cricket Australia would not have made that decision,” Freudenstein said in a joint press conference with with CA CEO Nick Hockley.
“I acknowledge the decision clearly sent the wrong message that this behaviour is acceptable and without serious consequences. The role of Australian cricket captain must be held to the highest standards,” he added.
The stumper was promoted as captain of the Test team following the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018.
A Cricket Australia investigation at the time had concluded that Paine had not breached CA’s code of conduct and was free to continue in the captain’s role.
“The code of conduct is (now) appropriate, it’s important to note a lot of things have changed since the time,” Freudenstein said.
“There’s programs in place that address things like sexting since the 2018 season. We have undertaken a full review of the sexual harassment education.”
Reports claimed a Cricket Tasmania employee was offended by “Mr Paine’s sexually explicit, unwelcome and unsolicited photograph of his genitals in addition to the graphic sexual comments.”
Addressing the media on Friday Paine had apologised for his actions.
“Although exonerated I deeply regretted in incident at a time and I do so today. I spoke to my wife and family at a time and enormously grateful for their forgiveness and support.”
He will continue to be a part of the Australian team.
Australia are slated to take on England in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane on December 8.
Paine, who had gone under the knife to fix a bulging disc in his neck in September, has been included in the squad despite an injury cloud.