Pat Cummins is leading the pushback against lucrative energy and mining sponsorship deals in Australian sport.
Cummins, whose role as Test captain makes him one of Australia’s most prominent public figures, told local media he would no longer appear in adverts for sponsor Alinta Energy.
The 29-year-old fast bowler is a vocal proponent of action on climate change, an urgent issue in fire-, drought- and flood-prone Australia.
Cricket Australia on Tuesday abruptly announced its four-year-old sponsorship deal with Alinta would end in 2023, citing a change in the firm’s “brand strategy”.
Cricket administrators denied the parting had anything to do with Cummins, despite reports of changing-room disquiet.
The player said the relationship with sponsors was “a balance”.
“We’ve seen certain players make decisions based on certain religions or certain foods, they won’t partner with specific partners,” Cummins said.
Australia’s economy is heavily dependent on coal, gas and mineral exports and the companies involved are among the country’s more profitable.
Energy and mining firms channel a small percentage of their earnings into sports from cricket to rugby and netball, sparking a clash of cultures with increasingly environmentally and culturally conscious players.
Pro-fossil fuel media commentator Chris Kelly accused Cummins of “having a whinge” and carrying out an “idiotic” protest.
Former Wallabies captain turned senator David Pocock has voiced his objection to Santos energy’s sponsorship of the national rugby team he once led.
“I was always proud to represent my country. As a rugby player, that’s what you dream of. It’s been difficult to watch a partnership emerge with Santos,” Pocock recently told local media.
“I really think fossil-fuel sponsorship is the new cigarette sponsorship, where they are advertising a product that we now know is destroying our home planet and our futures.”
© Agence France-Presse