Newsletter

Get the Sport24 daily newsletter delivered to your Inbox!

LIVE

    NZ PM queries SBW logo cover-up

    2017-04-10 07:26

    Wellington - New Zealand's prime minister on Monday criticised All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams' decision to block out a sponsor's logo on his shirt apparently for religious reasons.

    Williams appeared for the Auckland Blues during Saturday's loss to the Highlanders with the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) logo taped over on his collar.

    New Zealand Rugby (NZR) subsequently revealed Williams, a devout Muslim, has a "conscientious objection" clause relating to companies linked to products such as alcohol and tobacco.

    In BNZ's case it apparently related to Islam's objection to usury - earning high interest from loans - although the player has not yet clarified his stance.

    Prime Minister Bill English said he did not see why Williams should receive special treatment when other players were expected to wear the team jersey.

    "It's hard to understand how one guy gets to behave differently than the rest of them," he told TV3.

    "I don't understand these professional contracts but if you're in the team, you're in the team and you wear the team jersey."

    NZR chief executive Steve Tew meanwhile admitted that Williams had put his organisation in a "tricky" position.

    He said it allowed players to make a moral stand, but approached such complex issues on a case-by-case basis.

    "They're all tricky because our commercial partners, with a lot of good faith, come in to support the game," he told Radio Sport.

    "They obviously need to get a return on their investment. Part of that is the logo that we didn't see on Sonny Bill's jersey on Saturday."

    Tew acknowledged criticism that sponsors such as BNZ deserved better treatment because their money was paying the players' wages.

    "There is that element, isn't there? So that's why we don't draw a blanket line anywhere," he said.

    "We've got to sit down and work it through because different people have a different view of different things... it's a judgement call."

    Tew said the Blues would discuss the issue this week with Williams and his agent Khoder Nasser.

    Williams did not blank out the logo of Super Rugby's main sponsor, banking and asset management group Investec, which appears on the arm of the Blues' shirt.

    It is also unclear whether his objections extend to US insurance giant AIG, the All Blacks' shirt sponsor, which has a multi-billion dollar mortgage loan business.

    What To Read Next

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk

    Fixtures

    Friday, 28 April 2017
    • Highlanders v Stormers, Forsyth Barr Stadium 09:35
    Saturday, 29 April 2017
    • Chiefs v Sunwolves, FMG Stadium Waikato 09:35
    • Reds v Waratahs, Suncorp Stadium 11:45
    • Force v Lions, nib Stadium 13:55
    • Cheetahs v Crusaders, Toyota Stadium 17:15
    • Kings v Rebels, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 19:30
    • Jaguares v Sharks, Estadio Jose Amalfitani 21:40
    Sunday, 30 April 2017
    • Brumbies v Blues, GIO Stadium 08:05


    Results

    22 April 2017
    21 April 2017
    15 April 2017
    14 April 2017
    09 April 2017
    08 April 2017
    07 April 2017
    02 April 2017
    01 April 2017
    31 March 2017
    25 March 2017
    24 March 2017
    18 March 2017
    17 March 2017
    11 March 2017
    10 March 2017
    04 March 2017
    03 March 2017
    02 March 2017
    25 February 2017
    24 February 2017
    23 February 2017

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    SA Rugby need to cut two Super Rugby teams for next year's tournament. Help them out!

    The ultimate Super Rugby quiz!

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.