A radio host has slammed Australian netballers for ‘spitting in the face’ of mining magnate Gina Rinehart for rejecting her $15million sponsorship deal through her company, Hancock Prospecting.
The Diamonds refused to wear the company logo in support of Indigenous player Donnell Wallam, over racist comments made by Ms Rinehart’s father, Lang Hancock, about Aboriginal people four decades ago.
But South Australian radio presenter, Andrew ‘Cosi’ Costello – who hosts ‘South Aussie with Cosi’ – blasted the netballers’ decision in a furious post to social media.
Mining magnate Gina Rinehart pulled her $15million sponsorship deal from Netball Australia after players decided not to wear the uniform (pictured, Team Australia celebrates after winning the Constellation Cup netball match)
South Australian radio host Andrew ‘Cosi’ Costello (pictured) blasted the players, saying they had ‘spat in the face’ of the billionaire heiress
‘You’d think a group of ladies would embrace and welcome a successful business woman like Gina. Instead they spat in her face,’ he wrote.
Costello recalled how Ms Rinehart had generously supported his charity, Cows for Cambodia, because of her ‘love for the cattle industry’.
‘She helped us to no end. Never once asking for anything in return,’ he said.
‘She was kind enough to spend $15 million sponsoring this netball team. She didn’t have to. She chose to help them.’
Costello claimed that the billionaire heiress would now find someone ‘more grateful to accept her money’ and that he felt sympathy for her as she only ‘wanted to help’.
‘To the team members that got the s***s. You’ve won. You’ve lost the sponsor. But at what cost to the rest of the team or the sport???? Time will tell,’ he continued.
Costello incorrectly says that the reason the Diamonds were against the sponsorship deal was because ‘a few (players) don’t like mining so they crack the s***s’.
Costello backed Gina Rinehart (pictured right) and recalled how she had generously supported his own charity
The row began after Indigenous player Donnell Wallam (pictured) took issue with wearing a uniform with the Hancock Prospecting logo over racist comments made by Ms Rinehart’s father, Lang Hancock
But the furore was sparked by a racist comment made by Rinehart’s father, Lang Hancock, in a 1984 television interview where he proposed breeding ‘unacceptable’ Aboriginals out of existence by sterilising them.
‘The ones that are no good to themselves and can’t accept things, the half-castes -and this is where most of the trouble comes,’ Mr Hancock said in the 1984 documentary film Couldn’t Be Fairer.
‘I would dope the water up so that they were sterile and would breed themselves out in future and that would solve the problem.’
Mr Hancock, who died in 1992 at the age of 82, added that Indigenous Australians who had been ‘assimilated’ should be left alone.
Indigenous netballer and Noongar woman Donnell Wallam refused to wear the uniform emblazoned with the logo of Mr Hancock’s mining company, Hancock Prospecting, which he founded in 1955.
Wallam’s teammates rallied around her and also chose not to wear the uniform as a result.
Ms Rinehart then pulled the plug on her company’s massive sponsorship deal with the sport’s governing body at the weekend and accused them of ‘virtue signalling’ in a statement.
Lang Hancock, seen here with his wife Rose Porteous, gave an infamous TV interview where he proposed sterilising Indigenous people who would not accept white ‘civilisation’
Ms Rinehart then accused Netball Australia of ‘virtue signalling’ and on Saturday, pulled the plug on her massive $15million sponsorship deal
Fox Sports reported that Mrs Rinehart’s withdrawal has left Wallam ‘devastated’.
Meanwhile, Kathryn Harby-Williams, the CEO of the Netball Players Association, has revealed Ms Wallam was actually planning to wear the jersey bearing the logo – because the pressure had got ‘too much to bear’.
‘In the end Donnell sought an exemption for herself and that wasn’t forthcoming because there was a meeting during the week, last week, where it was made very clear that no exemptions would be given to any of the players,’ Ms Harby-Williams told ABC Grandstand.
‘And that was a disappointing moment because the players thought at the very least that Donnell would be granted an exemption at that point in time.’
Wallam was then reportedly prepared to wear the logo on the jersey when she made her debut for the national netball team during their match against England.
‘One of our First Nations players had a conscientious objection to just three games to ask for an exemption in the end not to wear that logo,’ Harby-Williams said.
‘There’s a precedence in other sports where exemptions been given. I would have thought and hoped for Donnell that exemption would be provided.’
‘It got to the point where Donnell was then actually going to agree to wear the dress and that was simply because the pressure was too much for her to bear and as a sport I think that should be extremely disappointing for everybody.’