I’m not taking credit, but…

Is it my fault West Coast Fever is no longer sponsored by Roy Hill? I’d like to say it is, but I can’t take credit for the state netball team ending its relationship with the mining company.

Roy Hill withdrew its sponsorship of Netball WA and West Coast Fever after Hancock Prospecting withdrew its sponsorship from Netball Australia and the Diamonds. West Coast Fever is thought to be ‘collateral damage’ in the controversy surrounding fossil fuel sponsorship of Australian sport.

How is it my fault?

On October 19, I wrote an open letter to West Coast Fever asking them to end their arrangement with Roy Hill. Just days later, this happened.

The decision was made after Diamonds players objected to wearing the company’s logo on their uniforms, for two reasons. Players protested on the grounds that fossil fuels are destroying the planet, and on the grounds that the founder of the group, Lang Hancock, made blatantly racist comments about Indigenous Australians which essentially amounted to calls for genocide. The company, under Hancock’s daughter Gina Rinehart, has never publicly distanced itself from those comments or condemned them.

No, Roy Hill is not a fossil fuel company as such. Roy Hill is an “integrated iron ore mining, rail and port corporation”. However, Roy Hill is part of the Hancock Group, and the Hancock Group makes most of its profit from cattle farming and fossil fuels, two of the major contributors to climate change. It is also owned by Australia’s richest woman. These riches were used to save a sport in debt in order to protect the image of an unethical company.

Am I seriously taking credit?

No.

Although some people genuinely think I am. They didn’t understand the tone of my article, and perhaps this is an indication of falling literacy standards in Australia.

Anyway.

I’m not actually taking credit. I give credit to the Diamonds players, current and past, who publicly objected to a fossil fuel company exploiting their team for sportswashing. I give credit to the players who risked severe criticism from everyday Aussies, the mainstream media, conservative commentators and the NewsCorp press.

I give credit to the players who stood firm amid salary negotiations and who may suffer financially due to their protest. I also give credit to a group of athletes who did not surrender to a woman who controls many of Australia’s politicians.

I received some ‘passionate’ responses to my articles, and I’m just a lowly writer. I can only imagine the criticism the players had to face when they made their decision, and stood by it. This is why I am giving credit to these players, and not seriously taking any credit for myself.

And after all of this controversy surrounding the West Coast Fever and the national team, the Diamonds reclaimed Constellation Cup with a four-goal win over arch-rivals New Zealand yesterday.

Image: West Coast Fever

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