#izzyfolau

Self-imposed slavery on the sporting field?

We couldn’t help but notice the kneeling across global sporting codes over the weekend. In Australia, players of the AFL and NRL codes all took the knee. No one stood.

The football leagues across Europe did the same thing.

Have we just witnessed acts of modern day slavery?

No, we are not trying to draw an equivalence to those that suffered at the hands of real slavery more than a century ago. Let’s be absolutely clear.

However it is not hard to see capitulating to the mob by surrendering constitutional rights out of a fear of exercising them as a reflection of the bleak dystopian future that is rapidly approaching.

We can be absolutely sure that failure to publicly submit to causes like BLM will lead to vilification and worse. Best to fall in line (literally) to avoid being attacked and face the inevitable backlash from the verbally violent apparatchiks on Twitter.

Is it fair to assume that every player believed in the cause of kneeling for BLM? Or were some pressured to do so? Did they feel their contracts might come under threat for non compliance?

Worry they might. LA Galaxy star Aleksandar Katai was recently sacked for something his wife tweeted about BLM without his knowledge. Career over. Shouldn’t the incendiary tweets of a spouse live and die there? Should companies have the power to sack us for the free speech exercised by our own husbands or wives in their own time?

Do employers have rights to enforce behaviors of employees completely unrelated to their jobs especially if not bound by legal contracts?

Did woke sponsors threaten to withdraw support if they didn’t make the virtue signaling gesture? Or did the same sponsors fear secondary boycotts and demand players got on message? Will players and officials kneel at every match from now on?

Are police officers – who attend every sporting match for player and fan security – so in need of being vilified each game for things the overwhelming majority haven’t committed?

Let’s not forget the long list of disgraceful crimes committed by many sports celebrities including rape, murders, shootings, animal cruelty, prostitution rings, assault, robbery, illegal gun possession, DUI and resisting arrest to name a few. Are these the types of role models the sports bodies think should lecture the rest of us?

We don’t doubt that most players believe in the lives of black (and all) people but was there any resistance in the locker room beforehand? Did they fear an Israel Folau style social media lynch mob which might drag their own family members in the line of fire for failing to fall to their knees?

The NFL in America marks the next step for the rest of the world’s sporting codes.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made a woefully cringeworthy and cowardly apology for ignoring the cause started by Colin Kaepernick, who will now get to name his price. Watch Goodell make him a race liaison for the NFL. Forget that Kaepernick was an average quarterback when he played. Just sign him ahead of far better players in order to avoid censure. A multi-year lucrative multi-million dollar participation trophy awaits.

Goodell said the NFL condemns systemic racism. Really? Who knew? Why would the NFL have to publicly announce the bleeding obvious? c.70% of NFL players are handsomely rewarded African Americans. Hardly a league guilty of oppressing minorities.

Goodell promised to spend $250 million over 10 years to combat systemic racism. Put that $25m yearly stipend against the $8bn in annual revenue, that is a token 0.31% of that. So it’s hardly a sum relative to the self loathing video made. Still it makes for good headlines. Will the NFL subsidize Kaep out of that sum?

Will fans be subject to a ditching of the flag and an end to the national anthem at the game? Will it be replaced by a minute’s silence where law abiding, open minded and tolerant citizens of all races are required to watch propaganda on police brutality broadcast on big screens to martial music before kick-off?

What is worse is that Goodell skipped over the fact that his fans more than likely already condemned police brutality well before his forced confession reminiscent of an ISIS hostage video.

Is Goodell’s memory so short? Don’t fans just want to unwind from the stresses of family, work and politics by watching their team play a great game?

The NFL might feel encouraged that it’s viewership may have made a tepid recovery from the lows of 2017 but it shouldn’t test the loyalty of fans this way. They don’t pay good money to be lectured over things they already repudiate.

The Australian Wallabies rugby union team is another franchise which succumbed to pandering to identity politics over serving the needs of paying customers. Self-inflicted wound. It will take decades to recover, if ever.

The AFL and NRL should watch their step too. Overplay politics at games where fans go to escape it and they might find they walk away leaving them where they are now – cardboard cutouts in the stands and canned crowds. Don’t mistake any bump in ratings as anything other than a short term COVID19 induced boredom escaping aberration.

To think if the players hadn’t submitted to bondage in the first place, they would have no need to get on their knees of their own volition and beg their ultimate paymasters for mercy.

Rugby Australia chokes on its own incompetence

IZZY.png

After exchanging a politically correct, vomit-inducing and nose-bleedingly insincere prepared statement drafted by professional media consultants -not lost on anyone – the fact remains that Rugby Australia (RA) is the loser in the Israel Folau saga. We can forget the original source of the dismissal and the rights and wrongs of it. If RA thought it had a proper case, the legal fees (which it claimed were worth saving and settling out of court) would have been way less than the $10m payout he was demanding. So much for supporting the very communities the RA plasters all over its website.

The outcome was the result of management incompetence in thinking that appearing woke trumped legal due process. In full knowledge that Folau had a $1.6mn war chest (courtesy of Christians, free speech advocates and rugby fans alike) to take up the case against his former employer, the board was forced to buckle and issue an apology to the former rugby star, which would never have been necessary if it had a smidgen of judgment in the beginning.

RA CEO Raelene Castle can laugh off “wildly inaccurate” speculation on the $8mn rumoured settlement but the fact is the board knows the exact amount. Israel and Maria Folau wouldn’t have been grinning like Cheshire cats were he to have signed away for less than his rescinded contract. It will be fascinating to see the composition of the 2019/20 reported figures that will be published in due course. Expect some accounting trickery to fudge it into the numbers.

Castle said a few months back that the franchise could weather paying out Izzy Folau’s $10m claim. Although CM is not sure that paying out $10m + costs – which would wipe out almost 2/3rds of the $18mn in cash on the balance sheet – is something a CEO should think is worth boasting about. What she has long needed to focus on is arresting the declining operating performance. Yet she stated emphatically that the RA won’t have to make changes to the budget. Maybe her lawyers pieced together a multi-year drawdown of the sum to be paid to smooth out the ultimate impact. 

The RA franchise is the laughing stock of the rugby world. So transparent is the lack of accountability, woeful internal coordination and deteriorating financial results that it requires nothing more than a drastic overhaul if the entity is to thrive.

Former coach Michael Cheika let loose that it was no secret he had no relationship with the CEO and a very poor one with Chairman Cameron Clyne. This coming from the very individual running by far the biggest RA franchise. Despite possessing by far the worst performance record of any Wallabies coach, management persevered with a man who didn’t have a leg to stand on but cast aspersions on the executive team.

Therein lies the problem. RA can push all of the woke causes (e.g. LGBTQI+, gender equality) it likes, but if the ultimate end customer derives no value from it, it is a fruitless exercise which can’t escape the scrutiny of the free market come time to pay bills.

Castle may believe that this was a commercial decision for the sake of providing certainty. Had she done the right thing from the start she could have avoided getting embroiled in a scandal that has exposed the poor governance within.

Isn’t it odd that the LGBT activists are now attacking the very institution that set out to promote them – RA. CM has never thought much of his tweets but the reaction to them has been so over the top. The faux outrage mob finds oppression in everything.

Castle should resign and if she won’t the board should fire her despite her defiance against the bleeding obvious – she is in over her head. Fans won’t return with the status quo.

Get woke, go broke.

2/3rds of Rugby Australia cash would disappear

Folau.png

Rugby Australia’s (RA) CEO Raelene Castle says that the franchise can weather paying out Izzy Folau’s $10m claim. Although CM is not sure that paying out $10m + costs which would wipe out almost 2/3rds of the $18mn in cash on the balance sheet is something a CEO would think is worth boasting. What she needs to focus on is the declining operating performance.

Hopefully, Chairman Clyne will get his CEO to focus on NZ Rugby (NZR) as a benchmark.

RA took in approximately A$30m in licensing and sponsorship last year. NZR raked in A$65m. More than double for a country with one-fifth the population. Think about it. The advertising base is smaller yet the sponsors must see the returns as superior to do so.

Total revenues for RA sum to around A$110m. NZR takes in A$182m in 2018.

Matchday revenue for RA reached A$20m last year. NZR collected A$28m.

Total assets for RA sum to A$69m. NZR total assets are A$183m. Total equity for RA is A$27m vs NZR at $99m.

Perhaps understanding why the Wallabies franchise saw a 20% fall in revenues in 2018 is a bigger issue. Expenses fell 15% mainly due to slashing Super Rugby team costs in half and player costs by 33%. Without that, the company would have sunk deep in the red.

RA needs to focus on growth not cut itself into oblivion. When it prioritizes its customer base rather than put precious resources into virtue signaling and diversity programs the board wouldn’t need to park 2/3rds of the cash to cover up their catastrophic lack of judgment.

Nonetheless good to know Castle sleeps easy at the thought of losing such magnitudes.

NZ Rugby vs Rugby Australia – the franchise stats

Well, well, we’ll. Who’d a thunk? NZ Rugby (NZR) is focused on the game, not appearing to be woke. Is it any wonder Australia are unlikely to win the Bledisloe Cup for many more years to come. The investment NZR pour into the All Blacks swamps Rugby Australia’s (RA) pittance into the Wallabies because sponsors and fans see the Kiwi franchise for what it is – a united team of winners with returns!

It shouldn’t surprise us when RA & NZR reveal primary objectives.

Objective 1 in the NZR 2018 Annual Report is “REMAINING ON TOP OF THE WORLD” (p.18)

Objective 1 in RA’s 2018 Annual Report is written as, “For rugby to continue to be a sport of choice in a rapidly changing society…community coaches are responsible…for creating fun, safe and inclusive environments” (p.10).

With that RA mantra, NZR is faced with a longer term dilemma. Because the fans might have to consider they might “get tired of all this winning!”

In all seriousness, NZR should seek to form a new version of the Bledisloe with a worthy adversary in Europe because the Wallabies will drift even further away from being competitive with RA focused on such utter malarkey.

Or to even it up, perhaps the All Blacks under-18s should play the Wallabies?

So why the gap? The numbers between the two are as follows.

RA took in approximately A$30m in licensing and sponsorship last year. NZR raked in A$65m. More than double for a country with one-fifth the population. Think about it. The advertising base is smaller yet the sponsors must see the returns as superior to do so.

Total revenues for RA sum to around A$110m. NZR takes in A$182m in 2018.

Match day revenue for RA reached A$20m last year. NZR collected A$28m.

Total assets for RA sum to A$69m. NZR total assets are A$183m. Total equity for RA is A$27m vs NZR at $99m.

Just looking at financial metrics alone, RA is not going to rebuild this franchise without focusing on what NZ already knows. The business has one sole focus – the pride of a nation.

Should we be surprised that Eden Park has been sold out every game since 1962 when the All Blacks play the Wallabies? That’s a franchise. Maybe RA should ask why Australian based attendance of the same series has drifted 20-35% in the last decade.

Until the Wallabies have a priority that focuses on a winning formula that is driven from the top, expect to see turnstiles become rusty.

Pathetic really. This is exactly why the RA board and leadership need a complete overhaul. Amateurs playing against professionals. Get woke. Go broke.

High Priest of Rugby Australia hits the nail on the head

If Rugby Australia (RA) Chairman Cameron Clyne had a decent product he wouldn’t need to worry about sponsors. Sponsors want brand exposure. That requires packed crowds following the Wallabies.

Some quick facts since 2014 vs 2018.

-Wallabies team costs (coach, support etc) +70% ($9.97m)

-Match day revenue -42.1% ($20.17m)

-Sponsorships -11.5% ($28.23m)

-Player contracts +3.2% ($16.79m)

– Licensing revenue -12.9% ($1.67m)

– RA has $18m in cash and equivalents as at 2019.

– RA made $5.87m net profit in 2018 on $119m of revenue but is expected to post a loss in 2019.

The SMH points to the very problems that RA has created for itself. To take the notion that “no” sponsors would want to be associated had they done nothing is absolute garbage. The Australian Christian Lobby might fill the Qantas void…

Does Clyne honestly believe that LGBT staff within RA may have sued it for not creating a safe and respectful environment had Folau not been shot? What a joke. If it is that easy to get a payout, CM would identify as such to ride that gravy train. How weak is the board to fold to this dross?

Did RA do anything when Pocock was arrested for chaining himself to an excavator for 10 hours at the Maules Creek mine? He was charged with “trespass, remaining on enclosed land without lawful excuse and hindering the working of mining equipment.” Raelene Castle wasn’t CEO at the time but Cameron Clyne, Paul McLean and Ann Sherry were and still are board members. Where is the balance in sanctions handed out? Wasn’t there a risk the climate skeptics inside RA might sue for the lack of a respectful environment?

Clyne also mentioned there was a risk of state and federal funding cuts if this wasn’t dealt with. In 2018, these grants totaled $3.5m out of total revenues of $119m. Less than 3%.

Once again if RA was run for the fans it would stand a far higher chance of not needing to fear its own shadow.

Alinta Energy sponsors Cricket Australia post the cheating scandal with the cheats still representing their country. Is cheating any better or worse than tweeting passages paraphrasing the Bible? The point is sponsors took advantage.

Here’s a suggestion. Put Folau back, sack Cheika based solely on (lack of) performance, drop Hooper, Foley and all the other publicly woke players to the bench, replace the board, CEO and chairman, call Qantas’ bluff and watch the fans flood back. A sponsor that is presented with an opportunity to back the team at its nadir will reap the benefits like Alinta.

If private health funds want to gain new customers…

If private health funds in Australia want to gain a lot of new business and waive some waiting periods for long term customers of HCF, they’ll stampede to their door. Strike while their competitor gets woke.

HCF joins the list of brainless corporates having to come out and show it doesn’t support the actions of Israel Folau’s wife, Maria in standing by her husband. The irony is she hasn’t said anything. Shame on her for trying to defend the couple’s livelihood.

HCF, sponsors of the Australian Netball series, said, “We appreciate the complexities of the Folau matter and acknowledge that views do differ in the community, however, we do not support Maria Folau’s stance on this matter.

If Maria Folau said she believed in mass murder, would Australians need direction from HCF to know the right path? Since when did corporates feel compelled to enforce moral and ethical codes on customers?

Corporate Australia is becoming a laughing stock. Does HCF honestly believe its customers are going to quit in droves if they don’t say something woke? It’s no better than ANZ preaching moral codes, although the bank comes from a greater history of scandal, as the Hayne Banking Royal Commission revealed.

Tell you what, if Medibank Private, nib or another private health insurer offer to waive the waiting periods, CM will happily transfer the $400/month to them from HCF.

HCF, not interested in your moral preening.

NSW Chair pleads for a truce

Could it be that those who are fed up with political correctness have proved their pockets are way deeper than Rugby Australia (RA) ever imagined? For the Rugby NSW Chair Roger Davis to pipe up that, “the game is paying too high a price for RA to be proved right in this matter” speaks volumes. Sounds like fear that RA might lose.

The ACL suspended the Folau fund raising as it went over $2m in two days. Now he can comfortably fund an excellent team of silks to prosecute the case against RA. Plenty more ammunition behind that one imagines too. RA is outgunned unless Qantas intends to deploy shareholder capital?!?

Once again, this has moved way beyond Folau’s contractual dispute. People are fed up with the lecturing from the left. Regardless of whether one agrees with what he said or not or the GoFundMe stunt, the people have spoken with their wallets. They don’t want to have corporates tell them how or what to say or behavioral awareness officers at the games marshaling their stress outlets.

Rugby Australia’s problems started way before Folau’s tweets. The attendance and performance of the Wallabies stems from the incompetence at the top. The numbers are abysmal. The identity politics obsessed board which keeps a coach despite the worst track record in the team’s history. Australia will be lucky to make the play offs.

As David rightly said, It’s not about rights or wrongs now, it’s about pragmatics. I don’t think rugby should be defining freedom of religion rights or freedom of expression rights. I don’t think it’s our job,

Exactly. Which is why $2m was lined up to let RA know it should drop all of the gender and identity political garbage period and focus on who pays the bills – the fans.

How dare you stand by your man

If CM had a dime every time another person or corporate talked about “diversity and inclusion” he’d be a millionaire. That one has to claim the bleeding obvious is nothing more than sanctimonious virtue signaling. It is nauseating. It’s like asserting one stands against Nazis. Really? How woke!

To have people question Israel Folau’s wife supporting her husband beggars belief. What does one expect? That she might publicly shame him on her Twitter account? Is anyone surprised she retweeted his GoFundMe appeal? Perhaps former Aussie netballer Liz Ellis can advise Maria Folau in the art of throwing her beloved under the bus.

She tweeted, “How about this: There is no room for homophobia in our game. Anyone who is seen to support or endorse homophobia is not welcome. As much as I love watching @MariaFolau play netball I do not want my sport endorsing the views of her husband.”

Liz, should Netball NZ launch a witch-hunt on Maria? Shall we make an example of her? Perhaps ask Jacinda Ardern’s judiciary to sink its newly sharpened fangs into Maria for retweeting Izzy’s ‘hatred’ and incarcerate her? Perhaps ask Twitter to terminate his account?

ANZ, sponsor of the domestic netball premiership, unsurprisingly came out with a politically correct response. Does ANZ have to prove to the 0.1% of activists who claim faux outrage that it isn’t homophobic? Why not appeal to the 0.000001% of fornicators, adulterers and drunks who might have been upset by Folau? It is amazing to think these institutions hire so many staff to floss the chrome fixtures in the executive bathroom.

Corporations really need to grow a pair. “Diversity and inclusion” are overused more in corporate virtue signaling than Casanova serenading “I love only you” on Valentine’s Day.

If ANZ had a look at the bank account balances of the activists that they fear so much they would soon learn they could easily afford to lose their business.

Quit the moral preening. You aren’t fooling anyone.

ACL raised $660,000 for Izzy

As it stands, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has helped raise $660,000 for Israel Folau in only a day since GoFundMe (GFM) pulled his $715,000 crowd funding site down.

What did people honestly expect? That they would stop Folau dead in his tracks by ganging up on GFM to back down? All These activists managed to do was to ram a hot poker into a previously sleeping giant.

It is highly doubtful that the majority of those that stumped up cash are homophobes in any way. It is way beyond that. It is much more about a protest against the constant political correctness that is thrust in our faces on a daily basis. There is a pecking order in identity politics and the majority are usually the least considered.

The people that donated want to protect freedoms – speech, religious or otherwise – and they’re sick and tired of being lectured by hypocrites. The double standards of these corporations are sickening. CSR is a buzzword but it has two distinct features – to bash companies who don’t conform to activist ideals or the creation of crony capitalism. We’ve already seen the backlash against corporates who get “woke” e.g. Gillette.

It doesn’t matter whether Folau’s crowd funding is viewed as a stunt or how inane his religious beliefs might seem to mainstream Aussies. What matters to them is they can voice dissenting opinions without recrimination. Folau’s dismissal is now but a minor issue in the crowd funding saga. The natives are restless as they’ve grown tired of apologists finding new ways to “shame” their difference in opinions.

CM is hopeful that Folau sends Rugby Australia (RA) into receivership to remove the cabal that runs it. Australian rugby is in tatters because it is not run for the fans but for identity and gender based politics, a role no one has asked it to enforce. The woeful attendance and dismal record of the Wallabies attests to this gross mismanagement. Like Cricket Australia at the time of the ball tampering scandal, RA needs a clean out. Folau will be the catalyst.

The woke never get it. Another self inflicted wound.

Go Fund Me’s double standards

RAICES.png

Well, well, well. How come it took so many days for GoFundMe to come to this conclusion? What ridiculous double standards the site has. It was bullied pure and simple and folded to activist pressure to appear as if it was a clerical oversight. Why not sack the gatekeepers at GoFundMe who should have flagged this up the chain but didn’t until they felt backed into a corner by apparatchiks?

So easy to fob it off using “GoFundMe’s terms of service say it can take down funds that are “for the legal defence of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity or serious disabilities or diseases. It was something it should have immediately caught but didn’t.

GoFundMe’s Country Manager Nicola Britton said the site doesn’t support Folau’s anti-gay views but presumably she supports funds that say hell awaits adulterers, fornicators, liars, drunks, thieves, atheists and idolators.

Regardless of whether one agrees with Folau’s religious beliefs or not, thousands of people still volunteered $750,000 to defend his rights to free speech. Will GoFundMe doxx all of those people who felt his cause was worthy enough to donate to? If he provides his bank account details for deposits, will his bank suspend his personal account?

Many people think it is outrageous that Folau doesn’t sell his properties and self-fund. Yet who are they to determine the voluntary nature of people who helped him raise $750k? They were not forced to. Do those who donated tell the faux outrage mob how to spend their money? No.

The irony is that GoFundMe is more than happy to run campaigns of $3m (GBP1.6m) to attack Folau for his supposed intolerance. Is that the sort of double standard the company operates under? CM is sure that GoFundMe will say it was an accident.

It wasn’t that long ago that GoFundMe happily allowed people to raise funds to pay for ladders assisting illegal immigrants to thwart national border protection laws. So when it comes to breaking federal US laws, then raising funds is OK under GoFundMe guidelines? One presumes that GoFundMe enforces its own arbitrary set of rules against its own pet causes.

Don’t forget that GoFundMe happily allowed $80,000 to be raised for Egg Boi who attacked Fraser Anning. Once again, regardless of Anning’s views, funds were raised for the legal defence of a teenager who committed violence, harassed, expressed hate and showed intolerance of another’s view, no matter how abhorrent the former Senator’s words might have been. Doesn’t that violate the same terms and conditions? Or is that OK because GoFundMe dislikes our politicians?

One hopes Folau moves to another fundraising site and doubles his target. GoFundMe has only shown exactly why free speech is at stake. CM doesn’t think much of his tweet but the reality is that 99.8% of people rolled their eyes and moved on. Rugby Australia (RA) also flicked the chicken switch and appears to have acted in haste and ran the risk of constructive dismissal. RA practices the very discrimination it claims it does not.

In any event, GoFundMe’s hypocrisy is there for all to see. If we want to express outrage that people didn’t fund better causes, look no further than the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES). The viral photo-shopped Time magazine picture of a little girl crying at a defiant Trump was used with great effect by RAICES to raise $20mn via Facebook crowdfunding!

Even after it was revealed that the child – stolen from her father – was never separated from the mother (who left her other 3 kids behind) and paid a smuggler to get to the border, RAICES still shamelessly uses the picture to boost its funding target to $25mn. Sanctimony at its finest.