Australian cricket captain Pat Cummins has come under fire for protesting sponsorship by an energy company while supporting a Chinese solar energy brand.
Nationals Senator Matt Canavan called out Cummins via Twitter on Tuesday after the high-flying cricketer met with Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley to remove one of the country’s biggest carbon emitters, Alinta Energy, as a sponsor.
“More than ever before you see players’ personalities, interests and passions emerge and have a little more say than perhaps in the past,” Cummins boasted to Nine Newspapers on Tuesday.
Alinta received a dismal 2 out of 5 stars in this year’s Green Electricity Guide for their plan to burn coal until 2047, the local environmental damage they cause and their ranking as Australia’s 7th biggest polluter.
However, Canavan called on Cummins for beating one “bad” company while supporting another.
“Why is the Australian cricket captain promoting a Chinese solar panel company involved in using forced Uyghur labor in Xinjiang?” Canavan tweeted.
Nationals Senator Matt Canavan Called On Pat Cummins To Support Chinese Solar Companies Using ‘Slave Labor’
In a February article by PV Magazine Australia, it was announced that Cummins was the ‘leader’ of a solar campaign.
Chinese PV manufacturer LONGi, supplier of inverters Sungrow and One Stop Warehouse, the largest distributor of solar energy in Australia, have donated the solar panels and inverter systems for the first phase of the program.
Cummins was pictured alongside LONGI branding as part of his campaign.
Canavan said all solar power companies in China are involved in the use of slave labor, especially through the abuse of Uyghurs in Xijiang.
He accused Cummins of being selectively “ethical” by ending its sponsorship with the major Australian energy company.
“If Pat Cummins wants to make cricket the vice squad, I would have thought that perhaps the Chinese Communist Party’s human rights abuses deserve more attention than an energy company helping to keep the lights on for its T20 games,” he said.
Radio host Steve Price also took the opportunity to crush Cummins’ protest during a speech on Sky News on Tuesday night.
He said Cummins needs to “understand how sponsorship works.”
“When this money dries up, the sport dries up. Linton Energy is trying to do what every other company does, in an effort to be more green. But where does it end?’, he said.
‘Do we say ‘we don’t sponsor ourselves by the VB because domestic violence is fueled by alcohol’? Are you going to take money from a Middle Eastern airline? Where does it start and end? Seriously?’
Cricket Australia has announced that Alinta’s four-year contract will be extended for just one more season.
“I think the most obvious things you can see is who we’re working with. So I hope that when we think about who we want to connect with, who we want to invite to be a part of cricket, I hope climate is a real priority,” Cummins said.
“I have my own personal views, so when it comes to personal sponsorship, there are some companies I wouldn’t want to join. When we get money, whether it’s junior cricket, grassroots, fan stuff across Australia, I feel a real responsibility that on balance we’re doing the right thing.”
2GB breakfast guest Ben Fordham also weighed in on the saga, saying sports and politics don’t mix.
He said Cummins should stick to bowling rather than tell Cricket Australia’s marketing department how to do their job.
“The idea of the National Captain personally lobbying his boss to cancel a $40 million sponsorship deal is just absolutely crazy,” Fordham told listeners.
“It’s an energy company, not a bandit!”
Fordham said he was not suggesting that sports stars take a vow of silence, but said they should be careful about what ground they campaign on.
“No industry is immune to criticism,” he ended his diatribe.
Banks, insurance, mining companies, fast food, soft drinks, alcohol, gambling, media companies.
“If you put them all in a row… there are no more sponsors!”