Sonny Bill Williams has put himself back in the news by taping over a bank sponsor’s logo on his Blues jersey in his Super Rugby comeback.
A New Zealand Rugby spokesperson told radio station Newstalk ZB that dual international Williams had lodged a conscientious objection to displaying the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) logo.
It’s been seen as a religious stand by Williams, a devout Muslim, who was playing his first match in the 15-man game since the 2015 World Cup final after recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered at the Rio Olympics.
In reaction to comment on social media, Williams tweeted on Sunday: “In regards to my jersey during the game I’ll clarify the situation during the week.”
In regards to my jersey during the game I’ll clarify the situation during the week.
— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) April 9, 2017
While the NZR were unaware that Williams planned to plaster over the BNZ logo on his collar in Saturday’s loss to the Highlanders, the spokesman said there wouldn’t be a misconduct charge and it was an issue for the Blues to handle.
He said any player could lodge a conscientious objection to promoting finance, alcohol, tobacco, gambling companies and banks.
Blues assistant coach Steve Jackson said the matter would be addressed with Williams’ management during the week.
“The sponsors pay our wages and you look to do everything you can to make them happy, so I’m not really sure what occurred or what’s really happened,” Jackson told Newstalk ZB.
A BNZ spokeswoman said the bank didn’t have a problem with Williams’ action.
“He’s entitled to have religious beliefs and customs around that and it’s really between him and the Blues as to how that manifests itself. So we have no issue with it,” she told Fairfax Media.
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