Australia cricket captain Pat Cummins has highlighted that he was not involved in Cricket Australia major partner Alinta Energy’s decision to end its front of shirt sponsorship with the sport after five years.
Mainstream media outlets including Sky News Australia, Fox Sports, Sydney's The Daily Telegraph, the Sydney Morning Herald, Yahoo Sport Australia and the Mail Online have suggested that comments made by Cummins contributed to the partner exiting its role as 'Principal Partner' of the sport.
Cummins, described today as an ‘incoherent far-left activist' by Sky News Australia, aired concerns about the partnership between the Hong Kong-based electricity generating and gas retailing company and the sport on 18th October, four months after the sponsor publicly announced its exit.
As reported by Sponsorship News in June, Alinta had in fact renewed the deal to the end of the 2022/23 season allowing Cricket Australia time to source a replacement in what was a difficult market.
News Corp Australia (owner of Sky News Australia, Fox Sports and The Daily Telegraph) has incorrectly reported that Alinta had announced its sponsorship departure in October around the time Cummins voiced his concerns about climate change and his decision to no longer be involved in Alinta’s campaigns. The inaccuracy of reporting on Alinta’s announcement and the timing of Cummins’ comments resulted in the athlete drawing criticism from readers that could therefore easily connect the two.
This week Cummins claimed the controversy saw him “dragged into different things.”
Cummins was philosophical about criticism levelled at him for flying first class and driving a polluting vehicle. He said many in his generation were passionate about different things and some were unable to leave those values at the door. He added that different conversations might just be a good thing.
He defended his long-standing involvement with environmental group Cricket for Climate saying he hopes his actions can make a difference, telling News Corp "“I don’t think I shout it from the roof tops. I just try and do a lot myself to make little changes in my life if I can. If I can make a little bit of difference through my actions or Cricket for Climate I am not too bothered by people picking holes in it.
“My job is to lead the team and do my best. If there are other things I am passionate about that I can think I can make a difference with then from time to time I can share them.”
Alinta's sponsorship, which began when the reputation of the men's cricket team had been impacted by the 'sandpaper gate' affair , has seen its brand feature on the shirtfronts of the Australian men’s cricket team, covering Test Matches, One Day Internationals and International T20 competitions. The deal extends from the elite level to grassroots cricket through support of the national digital platform MyCricket.
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