AFL legend Sam Newman has slammed ‘woke’ athletes who complain about million-dollar sponsorships because of ethical concerns as “pompous, arrogant people”.
His comments follow complaints by netballers, cricketers, and footballers about the morality of sponsoring deals from companies connected to fossil fuels.
The former Geelong champion, who described the whinging athletes as “low IQ”, said they were creating “a ridiculous, woke society of nonsense”.
And he warned that the players were only demonstrating their own hypocrisy.
In the past week Australian netball players have demanded a $15m sponsorship deal from billionaire miner Gina Rinehart be rejected because of racist comments her father Lang Hancock made nearly 40 years ago.
Australian cricket captain Pat Cummins has complained about the sport’s $40m sponsorship deal with Alinta Energy due to 'ethical concerns'.
And high-profile supporters of AFL’s Fremantle Dockers have urged the club to end its 13 year association with natural gas exporter Woodside Energy.
Newman said it was ‘ludicrous' for sporting teams to reject sponsorship deals from companies whose products they use “on a daily basis”.
“It's just a case of judging everything on its merits, because the price of being virtuous is hypocrisy,” he said.
“It's just fraught with danger, all this nonsense.
“If you think fossil fuels are going to disappear in the very near future you're mistaken because that's the end of the civilised world as we know it, no matter what you think of the climate, no matter what you think of global warming.”
Newman mocked netballers upset at Hancock industries because of their climate record.
“Seriously, the world we live in is being run by patronising and pompous, arrogant people who have no idea really what they're on about,” he said.
“(They) make the rest of the people who enjoy life as it is - although we all try to be responsible - (they) make it a nightmare.”
He said sporting codes should not be “the moral arbiters of what we believe in”.