Indigenous “Tokenistic” Act Behind the $ 15 Million Netball Sponsor Saga with Hancock Prospecting by Gina Rinehart, Donnell Wallam, Australian Diamonds

Netball Australia may have lost a $ 15 million sponsorship deal with Hancock Prospecting, but the saga has proven that the Diamonds team is stronger than ever, as is their commitment to indigenous netball.

The sport’s governing body is on the hunt for much-needed sponsorship dollars after prospect Gina Rinehart Hancock tore her $ 15 million netball deal last weekend in the middle of Australia’s Constellation Cup campaign against. New Zealand.

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The problem came to a head because indigenous player Donnell Wallam, who would make her Diamonds debut in the upcoming series against England, was said to be uncomfortable wearing a uniform with the Hancock Prospecting logo.

This was due to comments made by Rinehart’s father, Lang Hancock, who infamously suggested that in 1984 the Australian natives would have to be sterilized to “regenerate” in the next few years.

Hancock Prosecting, who also dumped Roy Hill’s sponsorship of West Coast Fever, criticized sports teams’ “signs of virtue” after they pulled the deal.

After the deal with Hancock Prospecting fell apart, Netball Australia is looking for another sponsorship that can somehow recoup the $ 7 million sports debt.

The Guardian reports that Netball Australia’s other major sponsors, Origin Energy, Suncorp and Nissan, have remained loyal to Diamonds and will not follow Hancock Prospecting in withdrawing their funding.

Australian Diamonds faced heavy criticism from some quarters after the lucrative deal blew up, but their decision to back Wallam is rooted in a recent Australian netball mistake.

In 2020, the national Super Netball competition celebrated the indigenous round and used the only indigenous player in the league at the time, Jemma MiMi, was used as the face of the round to heavily promote the match.

But despite being plastered for media coverage, MiMi remained on the sidelines during the pitch and had no time on the pitch from her team, the Queensland Firebirds.

The Firebirds later acknowledged that they “misinterpreted community expectations” and Netball Australia admitted that the club had missed an opportunity for genuine indigenous representation when MiMi did the hard work to promote the round.

Ahead of last year’s indigenous Super Netball round, MiMi told News Corp that her experience in 2020 was “tokenistic” but efforts for indigenous rounds have improved.

“Seeing the girls win, I was happy but also sad not to be able to take the field,” MiMi said.

“I talked to the girls of the time and our coaches about how I felt and why they just didn’t really understand that pressure.

“It certainly felt quite symbolic in previous years, but we’re trying to make this round as authentic as possible.”

The incident involving MiMi proved a catalyst for Netball Australia, Super Netball players and the Players’ Association to promise change under the Declaration of Commitment signed in September 2020.

The declaration aims to produce tangible change to break down barriers for indigenous actors.

Sharon Finnan-White, the latest indigenous player to represent the Diamonds, said at the time she hoped the statement “was genuine and not just words”.

The Diamonds’ firm response to Hancock alongside Wallam is proof that the statement is not just words: they are putting it into action and following their “Sisters in Arms” motto.

Wallam joined MiMi at the Firebirds last season and formed a strong combination with her in the shooting circle alongside Gretel Bueta.

The shooter was awarded for an impressive first Super Netball campaign with the selection in the initial training team of the Diamonds for the Commonwealth Games.

His pending international debut is a watershed moment for Australian netball, which didn’t have an indigenous player representing Diamonds from Finnan-White more than two decades ago in the 1990s.

Wallam was on the sidelines with the Diamonds team when they achieved a resounding comeback win in the Constellation Cup and this week will make his debut against England in the three-game series, which kicks off in Newcastle on Wednesday night.

After claiming the series win against New Zealand, Diamonds captain Liz Watson reaffirmed her team’s position in supporting Wallam.

“Obviously we’re disappointed that sponsorship is out of the question … But we’re also supporting Donnell, we’re also supporting the growth of this program,” Watson said.

“We talk about creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable and everyone can perform at their best, and that’s what I really get from it… we want to be the best versions of ourselves on and off the pitch.

“It doesn’t matter who joins this group, no matter what their concern is, or whatever it is: talk about it, share it.

“It’s not just Donnell, it’s everyone, so I think it’s a great thing to know we’re creating something very special in this group.”

Australian Diamonds vs England Roses Series

Wednesday 26 October 7:30 pm AEDT – Newcastle Entertainment Center, Newcastle

Sunday October 30 7:30 pm AEDT – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney

Thursday November 3 7:30 pm AEDT – Brisbane Entertainment Center, Brisbane

Watch the best of world netball as Origin Australian Diamonds take on the England Roses in the England Series on Wednesday at 7:30 pm AEST Live & Free on Kayo Freebies. Sign up now and start streaming now>

Originally released as an indigenous “Tokenistic” act behind the $ 15 million netball sponsorship scandal