The cast of “Duck Dynasty” has released its first statement on Phil Robertson’s suspension from the A&E series.

The duck hunter’s family say they are “disappointed” by the decision, and argue that while his anti-gay comments were “coarse,” they are rooted in the Bible and the group stands by them.

The family also says they may not continue the show if Robertson cannot participate.

The statement reads in full:

“We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support.  The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E’s decision.  We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word.  While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Phil would never incite or encourage hate. We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right. We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm.  We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family.”

As Gossip Cop has reported, conservatives and other supporters have called for Robertson’s role to be reinstated, while PETA is arguing the show should be canceled

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