Do Karens Prefer Netball?

We have all been rather bemused and befuddled recently by the rather unnecessary drama around the sponsorship of Netball Australia.

To recap:

Netball Australia announced that a company connected to Gina Rinehart was going to sponsor them for $15 million.

Netball Australia is close to bankrupt and otherwise would find it difficult to raise the salaries for players of this niche sport.

A player revolt, based on the premise that Gina Rinehart’s father, the late Lang Hancock, expressed some views in 1984 most kindly described as eugenics, raised criticism of the sponsorship deal.

Gina Rinehart then, in rather measured language, decided not only to withdraw her sponsorship offer, but also to abandon her pre-existing sponsorship of Netball WA and the Perth Super Netball team.

All was not lost however. Our Maoist leaning Premier, Dictator Dan, leapt into action with a $15 million sponsorship package from Visit Victoria.

So… now we are all caught up and I can start my various rants on the subject.

Firstly, I think that Midnight Oil, in one or other of their rather whiny songs, quotes from the Bible about the Sins of the Father being visited upon the Son. Gina Rinehart is not Lang Hancock, simply his daughter, and blaming her for some eugenically themed comments of her father’s from four decades ago is similar to blaming the modern Labor Party for the White Australia Policy.

Secondly, the reporting around those comments by the late Lang Hancock did not bother to actually repeat what he said, which meant that the new publicity for his previously forgotten unpleasant utterances has been distorted considerably. Whilst his statements were about eugenics in relation to half-castes, they have been, through abbreviated reporting, been implied as advocacy for genocide, which they were not.

Thirdly, the gracelessness with which the elite player group of the national team rose up to reject the sponsorship announcement, combined with the clumsiness of their back pedalling which it appeared clear that they had viciously bitten the hand that was feeding them, does not do any of them any credit. Netball is a niche sport, with little popular backing outside of the grassroots where it is played. It has little commercial appeal to attract sponsors.

That the Diamonds first denounced Mrs Rinehart and her family business en masse, and then tried to retreat from their vicious attack when it appeared that this was going to hurt them in their purses, was most unbecoming. I think that the team could perhaps rename themselves from the Diamonds to the Karens.

Fourthly, the rhetoric around the search for a new sponsor showed, amongst the supporters of Netball, a great deal of self-entitlement. Given that they cannot denounce Mrs Rinehart, who pays all the taxes that she legally should and donates generously to charity, for being a freeloader on the community, the ‘Netball community’ (or should I simply call them Karens) chose to turn their attention to those other billionaires, such as the owners of Altassian, who pay few taxes, and make demands that they sponsor Netball.

[Karens, turning on your woke brethren in Altassian is most silly. If you were not aware, Cannon-Brookes et al are busy trying to take over (or shut down) AGL as part of their campaign against global warming at the same time as Altassian is in dire commercial straits. Can you choose to criticise some tax minimising billionaires who are less woke please?]

The result of this debacle is that Victorian Government owned body Visit Victoria now is the main sponsor for a supposedly national sport. The grand final for this niche sport will now be played exclusively in Victoria for the foreseeable future. The reigning super netball premiers and their state body are left without a sponsor. I doubt that either of these two developments is good for Netball as a national sport.

I have occasionally talked about and denounced sports washing in this blog. If I were of the belief that Mrs Rinehart sponsoring a sporting team was a form of sports washing, I would call it out. However, there is no reason to consider that the operations of Hancock Prospecting or any other Rinehart owned company are any more open to criticism than any other Australian owned miner, and far less so than Rio Tinto. Mrs Rinehart pays her taxes and makes generous donations to charities and community groups, and appears to do so from a desire to contribute, rather than to legitimise dodgy business activities.

If I were advising either the AFL, or Mrs Rinehart, I would be looking at this as an opportunity. AFLW has emerged as the leading competitor to Netball as a professional team sport for women. Perhaps Gina Rinehart could be encouraged to divert that $15 million to sponsoring the two AFLW teams in Western Australia? That would repay Netball Australia far more severely than the mere withdrawal of sponsorship from the sport in WA.

Published by Ernest Zanatta

Narrow minded Italian Catholic Conservative Peasant from Footscray.

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