The only ‘value’ of sport is to win and to win fairly


Just as Andrew Thorburn’s story (which I wrote on these pages) perfectly exposed his intolerance of the so-called ‘progressive’ left, the case in Australia over athletes opposed to sponsorship by mining and energy companies. Last week’s commotion further underscored how common hypocrisy and double standards are when sports are used to promote political “values.”

Premier League footballers and many others last year “kneeled” in support of Black Lives Matter, but how many sports organizations have condemned the beating of Iranian women by Iranian mullahs?

Furthermore, when cricketer Pat Cummins opposed a $40 million (US$26 million) sponsorship deal offered to Cricket Australia by Alinta Energy on the grounds that they had to stand up for ‘climate change’, Nowhere was there an argument that cricketers shouldn’t wear sportswear, factory-made equipment powered by fossil fuels, or Cricket Australia swinging bats at players around the world, or coal-powered equipment. Stop discouraging people from playing games day and night under the stadium lights as the source.

Epoch Times photo
Australia’s Pat Cummins (left) celebrates at the wicket during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup match between Australia and Sri Lanka at Perth Stadium, Australia, 25 October 2022. (James Worsfold/Getty Images)

A more effective way to make a real difference

Hancock Prospecting recently withdrew its $15 million (US$9.5 million) sponsorship of Netball Australia, leaving the sport in serious financial trouble.

This saw the goal shooter wear a diamond dress that included Hankook Prospecting branding after the national team (known as Diamonds) players fully supported Indigenous debutant Donnell Wallum. After expressing concern to

Lang Hancock, the father of current Hancock Prospecting executive chairman Gina Reinhart and founder of the mining giant, said in a television interview nearly 40 years ago that Aboriginal Australians are the future. For several years, she infamously suggested that she should be sterilized in order to “breed herself.”

Just as a Thorburn was packed for a leadership role in a Christian church teaching believers to follow traditional Christian teachings, so we see here that whole societies, grandstands, and organizations are yielding. I see guilt due to the self-righteousness of demanding what must be done. to the views of radical “true believers”.

Upon withdrawal of sponsorship, Hankook Prospecting Releases Statement Some real home truths were pointed out.

“Hancock and its Executive Chairman, Mrs. Reinhart, do not believe that sports organizations should be used as vehicles for social or political causes,” the statement said.

“Firstly, because sport is at its best when it focuses on good and fair competition, we strive for excellence in order for dedicated athletes to fulfill their sporting dreams and represent our country at its best. I am striving to

“Second, because there are more targeted and authentic ways to advance social or political causes without virtue signals or self-promotion. It’s a meaningful undertaking by the Foundation to support the real needs of local Indigenous communities,” the statement said.

“Third, because there are more impactful avenues to make a positive difference. We offer a true path to employment with a guaranteed job at the end of training if you so choose.”

“The reality is that for sports organizations, from full-time professionals to young children at the grassroots level, who rely on corporations to invest the money that allows all sports to not only survive but thrive, sponsorship is a big deal. It’s essential,” they said.

Value and success in sport

As Reinhardt points out, it’s the actions that matter most, not the words. Her significant contributions to other sports such as rowing, volleyball and swimming have not only kept them afloat but also given them a platform for international success.

Swimming great Dawn Fraser pointed out that without Reinhart’s continued support over the years, Australian swimmers would not have been able to achieve success at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.

So junior players, whose senior players look up to politics, sports in general, grassroots players in particular, and senior players, will find their path to success much more difficult thanks to “sports washing.”

And where do you draw the line? Gambling, as we know it, can be socially destructive, but what about placing tons of advertisements on bookmakers and betting agencies before and during the match? It’s a lucrative source of revenue for sports channels that pay hundreds of millions of dollars for rights, much of it going into funding pocket or junior programs for elite players.

What about fast food chains? No doubt there are many studies linking excessive fast food consumption to childhood obesity and poor health, but should the AFL tell McDonald’s that major sponsorship funding is no longer welcome?

Sir Doug Nichols, the great Aboriginal Australian and Governor of South Australia, was a champion of Australian Rules football in his youth and a devoted Christian. He once said that players can preach sermons in the way they play the game.

In other words, the only “value” in sport is to win, by playing right and fair.

Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.

Rocco Loiacono


Rocco Loiacono is a senior lecturer and Italian to English translator at Curtin University Law School in Perth, Australia. His research in translation, linguistics and law has been widely published in peer-reviewed journals.