SBW logo cover-up a 'conscientious objection'
Wellington - All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams was reported Sunday to have used a "conscientious objection" clause to block out a bank logo on his Blues jersey for what is believed to be religious reasons.
"In regards to my jersey during the game I'll clarify the situation during the week," Williams tweeted after he taped over the logo of sponsor Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) for the Blues' Super Rugby match against the Highlanders.
However, in a statement read on Radio Newstalk ZB, New Zealand Rugby said Williams had "lodged a conscientious objection with New Zealand Rugby in his contract to finance companies, banks, alcohol companies, tobacco companies and gambling companies".
The player converted to Islam in 2009, a religion which frowns upon borrowing money or paying interest to banks.
The Blues team management reportedly were unaware he was going to tape over the logo while a spokesman for the bank said Williams was "entitled to have religious beliefs".
A fit-again Williams, back in action for the first time since suffering an Achilles injury playing sevens at the Rio Olympics, played the last 20 minutes for the Blues against the Highlanders.
The Highlanders won 26-20, but it was William's decision to cover over the BNZ logo that caused a stir on social media rather than the result.
A BNZ spokesperson told local media it was a matter between Williams and the Blues.
"He's entitled to have religious beliefs and customs around that and it's really between him and the Blues as to how that manifests itself. So we have no issue with it," the spokesperson said.
Newstalk ZB quoted a Blues official as saying they were unclear why the logo was taped over and would discuss the issue with Williams' manager.