Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wearing a sponsor's logo does not mean a cricketer's personal endorsement of the sponsor's products.

Australian Rugby legend David Campese has been forced to apologise for suggesting Australian cricketer Fawad Ahmed (right) should "go home" for not wanting to wear a beer sponsor's logo on his national team shirt.

Well Campo told it as he saw it and he echoed veteran cricketer Doug Walters in criticising Cricket Australia for allowing Ahmed licence not to wear the "VB" logo. The Australian cricket authorities and the sponsor were as one that if the Muslim Ahmed didn't want to wear the logo that was fine by them. In this they followed Cricket South Africa who allow another Muslim, Hashim Amla, not to display the logo of the Proteas sponsor Castle Breweries. Commonsense and sensitivity has prevailed in both these cases you might think. But has it?

Let's look at what sponsorship means and what it doesn't. When for years the Indian cricket team was sponsored by Wills tobacco the charge could be levelled at the BCCI that they were promoting a cigarette brand and, therefore, smoking. It was a fair charge and eventually they stopped doing it. But when Sachin Tendulkar wore the Wills brand on his cricket shirt was he, Sachin, personally endorsing either Wills or the act of smoking? Of course not. Subliminally the public might have linked Sachin with smoking but I very much doubt it. This is because Tendulkar, famous though he is, was just one small moving billboard among thousands. The grounds where he played had Wills advertising boards everywhere and of course all of his teammates wore the same kit.

And so it is with Amla or Ahmed. They are part of a team and that team is sponsored by a brewery. They play on cricket grounds where that brewery's advertising is everywhere. There is and never has been any implication that the players personally use or personally endorse the products and brands displayed on their shirts. I've never met a cricketer who drinks "Gatorade" (another cricket sponsor) nor have I assumed that Stuart Broad uses Vodafone or Brit insurance!

Would it not have been far better if Ahmed and Amla instead of requesting special treatment had said something like this:

"I am a Muslim and as such I do not drink alcohol. I do, however, acknowledge the right of non-Muslims to do so and that there is a large alcoholic drinks industry in South Africa/Australia and that one of the company's in that sector is a valued sponsor of South African/Australian cricket. As a proud member of the national team I wear the uniform of the team in the same way as all my fellow team members and see no reason to request special treatment. My wearing of the sponsor's logo is not because I personally endorse that sponsor's products but because I am proud to be a South African/Australian  and  even prouder to wear our uniform."

1 comment:

Islam said...

sure what u r saying might be right when speaking tecnically but what you are missing is that it is their personal decision to not to sponsor the brand and by far according to islam every person is accountable for his own deeds so the point is that they are not responsible for the sponsor of the whole management or the team.They are just not sponsoring the brand on their behalf and have a right to do so .It should not be made a big deal of and their decision should b respected.