Sponsorship and Sport: Coming to a Head

Given the publicity surrounding P Cummins’ decision to decline to appear in ads for Alinta Energy and The Diamonds squad taking a collective stance against wearing the branding of that ■■■■■ slug from Hancock Prospecting, the attention turning to AFL sponsorships was inevitable. A prominent group of Fremantle supporters have today written an open letter to the club asking that it concludes its long term arrangement with Woodside Energy. Several other AFL clubs also have what some may consider to be questionable arrangements. Sydney accepting money from the Government of Qatar being one of them. Like most, I’m personally hypocritical when it comes to making a moral judgement based on internal beliefs and prejudices. I can see how fossil fuel use is attributing to climate change but I also need to get around. I wouldn’t go to Qatar due to the persistent human rights abuses it allows on foreign workers but I have to admit I’m a little uncomfortable in the knowledge that Sydney take money from these people. I believe in the right to protest so I have no objections to P Cummins or anyone else making a stand but sport needs sponsorship. Is turning a blind eye to ‘sportwashing’ ok because we get something out of it? The argument of keeping politics out of sport was made redundant when big tobacco saw how powerful the alignment could be. Golf is trying to something about the Saudi influence in its sport but that has more to do about maintaining control than objecting to them being an appalling global citizen. Should we care and if yes, how far do we go to make our objections known?

not to mention all the bloody betting adds / sponsorship.


There are so many examples it’s hard to know where to start.


How exactly does ‘Paid Millions’ increase Pat’s carbon footprint? Does Tom think The Mint are running double shift to spit out enough pineapples to pay Pat?


Tom if you’re that concerned about standards being upheld, put an apostrophe in there bro. And possibly get a bigger picture of things - that doesn’t mean a 75" in your holiday shack.



Herein lies the rub. At AFL clubs members have significant sway, for better or for worse. For example, both sides made their voices heard during the Thorburn debacle. Simultaneously, you don’t have to look hard to find fans of Manchester City twisting themselves into mental knots to explain away the slavery allegations against their clubs owners. North Melbourne fans appear to be doing the same for Clarko.

It’s easier to follow your club when you know it aligns with your values. I’ve spoken a few times of how Essendon lead the way with indigenous affairs in the 1990s and the effect that had on my values as a white kid growing up in that era. These days there would be many who would chastise the club as “woke” for doing what it did for Michael Long, as just one example.

The argument about keeping politics out of sport vanished a very long time ago if it ever existed. Sport has always been a vehicle for social change. Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics is one example. The treatment that Peter Normal got is more or less universally condemned these days despite significant backlash which occurred at the time.

We don’t need to, nor should we, demand moral perfection from our clubs. Particularly with issues such as climate change or gambling as there’s almost no room for perfection. As a result, we shouldn’t denigrate attempts to improve on these issues. Our sporting clubs should try to represent us as best they can, and lead the way for positive change wherever possible.


Tom is wrong here for two reasons.

  • The whataboutist gotcha is meaningless. Pat having a carbon footprint does not make him a hypocrite. If Pat were to express his protest by retiring to the woods and foraging mushrooms for food, would Rockliff praise his carbon saving efforts or would he deride him for being a loony? Charging his phone doesn’t make him a hypocrite.

  • Pat isn’t protesting the “Standard Aussie” for their carbon footprint. He’s protesting the damage caused by the sponsors. His carbon footprint would be far less, by orders of magnitude, than those who want to sponsor the shirt.


That’s well said.

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Tom Rockliff is an idiot.

Who’d have guessed?


A bloke so sh*t, that not even Brisbane Lions wanted him.

The topic is such an interesting one…and one that probably shows the inconsistency of most of us.

Take LIV Golf…many people (including quite a few on here) are appalled at the golfers taking Saudi “blood money”…but how many are supporters of the variety of EPL Clubs that are owned/sponsored by Middle Eastern Companies?

How many fly Qatar Airlines as they give good deals compared to other airlines?

How many would attend the World Cup if they could get tickets?

I have no solution to these issues but do get sick of the hypocrisy of those who pick and choose their lists of those who they deem to be bad (whilst ignoring other similar countries/organisations because they provide goods/services that the particular individual likes to use).

“People in glass house should not throw stones”


Carmen Lawrence and Bill Hare are prominent in the Dockers campaign.
She said years ago as a politician, when tobacco advertising in sport was banned, some of the taxes collected on tobacco were used to fund sport.

She gave a good response today on 6PR. Not sure if it’s available via podcast but it’s worth a look.

there inlies the big issuse, where do you stop ?

if you have an iphone you obviously love representing having people paid 20 cents a day to make em.
what about nike ?

what about horse racing or the dogs as animal abuse ?

you can pretty much go through any walk of life and find something to be upset or offended about in relation to what your team does or doesn’t do or accept from outside help.

interesting though, with all the questionable things india does in general, he has no issue taking money from their premier league.
he gets what 2 odd mill a year for 6 weeks of 4 over games every 4 days ?

he may want to be a bastion for fighting against global warming, but sure as ■■■■ is a pretty ■■■■■■ humanitarian again when you consider how corrupt and poverty stricken india is as a whole.

see that’s how easy it is to be a hypocritical virtue signaler


I watched her and Hare on ABC TV today.
Should be on ABC site

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always remember kids, there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism

we all have a line somewhere of what we’re prepared to accept.

some people make it known they are changing that line, and good on them.

but no one is ever absolved from having one.


Woodside and Santos are specific to climate change.
With Santos, I think there is also the issue of developments affecting indigenous cultural sites.


This is a pretty interesting conversation. I work in partnerships in a sporting environment so keeping a keen eye on these rumblings as it will inevitably impact us at some stage, too.

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The Barca shirt was infinitely cooler with UNICEF as a sponsor in lieu of a company.

Simply because most companies attaching them to something they are not are brands that to me just conjure up images of dorky people in business attire.