SuperSport, MultiChoice: No racism in Willemse drama
Cape Town - After discussions that took place on Monday, both SuperSport and MultiChoice have stated that they do not believe racism to have played a part in Ashwin Willemse dramatically walking off set on Saturday night.
READ: 'No conclusion' in SuperSport talks with Mallett, Willemse, Naas
In a moment that has rocked the South African rugby public, Willemse accused Nick Mallett and Naas Botha of patronising him after the Lions v Brumbies match.
The former Springbok left wing said he had been referred to as a quota throughout his career before he unplugged his equipment, said he couldn't work with such individuals and left the set.
On Monday, SuperSport held talks with all three individuals and while they acknowledge that they still have more to investigate, the company does not believe racism to have played a part in proceedings on Saturday.
"From the observation of today’s discussions, there is no racism that we picked up from any of the discussions we’ve had. We do not see it anywhere," MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela said.
"As far as we are concerned it is people that got into some discussions of some sort and we are still digging deeper to find out what really happened.
"Nobody walks off stage just for the sake of walking off stage. There must be something deeper, and we are engaging all parties to get to the bottom of this thing."
SuperSport CEO Gideon Khobane agreed.
"There obviously is an issue that we are trying to unpack, but we don’t think it is a racially motivated issue," he said.
"If it was then it would be easier to come to a solution because as a business and a country we don’t stand for any prejudice whatsoever."
Talks between the respective parties are set to continue, though no time frame has been set at this stage.
Watch the press conference below. Please note, sound only starts 1:50 into the video.