Superstars who take a stand against their sport’s sponsors risk being accused of hypocrisy, according to Nine presenter Tony Jones.
The discussion has flared up in recent days, after Test reports and one-day captain Pat Cummins raised concerns with Cricket Australia over a $40 million sponsorship with Alinta Energy.
According to the Australian government’s clean energy regulator, Alinta’s parent company, Pioneer Sail Holdings, is the sixth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Australia.
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Cricket Australia has denied that Cummins had any influence in the decision to separate from Alinta.
The quick player received support from Adam Zampa, who said on Wednesday “I obviously have some personal opinions about some of our sponsors.”
It came after a backlash from the Australian Diamonds over the sponsorship between Netball Australia and Hancock Prospecting.
The company’s environmental record has been called into question, while local player Donnell Wallam raised concerns about the 1984 comments from the late Lang Hancock, who said some Aboriginal people should be sterilized to “breed themselves”.
Amid the turmoil, NA chairperson Marina Go has resigned from her position, even though NA has claimed to be part of what she calls a “planned transition.”
talking on Nine today, Jones said the players should be careful not to go too far.
“There’s a bit of hypocrisy here when you look at it,” he said.
“Athletes, by nature, are the first to jump up and down when they don’t get paid accordingly, in their view.
“So there’s a very fine line here when it comes to corporate sponsorship, which is not in abundance right now on the back of a global pandemic.”
Jones noted that by taking a stand, the issue could explode in players’ faces.
“My understanding is that the cricketers, Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa, have been up front talking about environmental issues,” he explained.
“Adam Zampa is very much about sustainability. What he does is support Pat Cummins to really start the conversation. Where does it end? If you want to be practical about everything, stop using wooden cricket bats, because that is at the behest of the forests.”
“If you want to dig deep, cricket is going to be an ever-changing scene. If you were to choose a car sponsor, I’m sure there would be problems with that too, because of the pollution from the exhaust.
“You can’t cry poor on the one hand, and then try to take the soap box of a social cause on the other hand,” he added.
“I’m sure they will work it out, but at the moment there is a bit of hypocrisy creeping into the sports world.”
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