Footy boss rejects ‘sportswashing’ idea and urges athletes to educate themselves in wake of $15m netball sponsorship ending
- Sydney Swans boss stressed the need to educate professional athletes
- Follow Gina Rinehart’s mining company landing a $15 million endorsement deal
- Netball Australia now faces uncertain future, players widely doomed
- They took a collective stand to back up-and-coming indigenous player Donnell Wallam
Sydney Swans boss Tom Harley has urged athletes to educate themselves thoroughly before publicly criticizing the way business is run.
It follows Hancock Prospecting, the company owned by mining magnate and Australia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, who raises $15 million in funding for Netball Australia.
The sport now faces an uncertain future, with the saga beginning after the Diamonds refused to take to the pitch playing strips bearing the Hancock Prospecting logo during the recent Constellation Cup four-test series against New Zealand.
The playgroup, led by captain Liz Watson, were collectively rooting for their indigenous teammate Donnell Wallam, who has since become the unwitting face of the drama.
Rinehart’s father, the late Lang Hancock, in a 1984 interview stated his plan to eliminate ‘the problem’ of indigenous peoples.
Sydney Swans boss Tom Harley has urged athletes to educate themselves thoroughly before publicly criticizing how high-profile business is run.
It follows Hancock Prospecting, the company owned by Australia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, who secures $15 million in funding for Netball Australia due to player backlash stemming from comments her father made in 1984.
He felt that a solution would be to ‘dope the water so that they are sterile, and they reproduce in the future and that would solve the problem’.
Rinehart has never condemned his late father’s comments, and when goalie Wallam entered the Diamonds’ setup, he raised concerns about Mr. Hancock’s historical views.
Wallam soon had the backing of his teammates, whose collective stance has brought the sport to its knees.
The Diamonds’ playing crew was collectively supporting his Native American teammate Donnell Wallam, (pictured center), who felt that Hancock Prospecting as a business did not align with his values as a person.
Swans boss Harley, who was a two-time first-place captain at Geelong, believes athletes have a right to a voice when it comes to social issues, but a detailed understanding is key.
“When it comes to athletes, it’s about creating an environment where their views can be heard in a safe environment,” he said in a teleconference with club sponsor Origin Energy.
“I think the sport is maturing in many ways and we are all mature enough to understand that a key component for sports to thrive is business partnerships.”
The Swans also have a significant sponsorship with Qatar Airways.
The Diamonds refused to take the pitch playing Hancock Prospecting logo strips during the recent Constellation Cup four-Test series against New Zealand (pictured)
Harley went on to push back against the idea that some sports clubs were purely interested in money amid suggestions of ‘sports wash.’
“When you bring athletes on the trip, be open and comfortable with feedback,” he told the daily telegraph.
“It should (also) look to create an environment that shows how important trade partnerships can be.”
Former Matildas goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri said she has also seen major changes in Australia when it comes to how some sports clubs and organizations engage with their players on social issues.
She felt different points of view were welcome in football and open dialogues make athletes feel their voices are heard and valued.