St George Bank insists it “upholds an inclusive environment” but will not sever its four-decade sponsorship of the Dragons over the club’s controversial quest for the signature of Israel Folau.
St George Illawarra’s corporate partners are expected to stick solid over the polarising decision to pursue Folau on a two-year deal. Cognisant of the need to keep them onside, club powerbrokers reached out to inform them of their intentions before proceeding.
The Dragons sponsors are likely to stick solid over the Israel Folau pursuit.Credit:Getty Images
“These values align with the NRL’s own commitment to respecting and celebrating diversity.”
Another major Dragons backer, TripADeal, will also stick solid.
“If home invaders can come into rugby league, surely people who have religious beliefs can come back into rugby league,” said TripADeal boss Norm Black. “While his beliefs don’t align with our beliefs … rugby league is a game of redemption.
“You can kick someone’s head in, go to jail and still come back.
“If you are making statements – and certainly we don’t want to hear them or condone them – I don’t think you can be left out of a sport forever based on what you’ve been brought up with.
“My take of it as a major sponsor is that I watched footage of what Matt Lodge did – I would say that the people involved in that home invasion are scarred for life.
“I think it would be hypocritical to say that guy can be gone from the game forever when you compare a home invasion.
“I’m a strong believer in second chances.”
Folau settled his unfair dismissal case with Rugby Australia after the controversy surrounding his anti-gay messages on social media during his time in the sport.
Black said his company was a “big supporter of equality” but believed Folau should be allowed to return to the NRL.
“He put a few noses out of joint for sure, but you’d hope that he’s learnt a lesson,” he said.
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