Fan Fury As Major Sponsor Labels Harmless Grand Final Gaffe 'Offensive'
When Ryan James fluffed his Welcome to Country address at the NRL Grand Final, there was spontaneous and near-universal sympathy for him.
"I'm lost," the 28-year-old Gold Coast Titans captain and descendant of the Bundjalung people of the NSW north coast region said, as he forgot his lines.
And as comedian Dave Hughes and plenty of other people responded at the time: hey, no biggie, we've all been there.
But there's a new twist to the saga today, with Titans sponsor TFH Hire Services reportedly pulling their sponsorship, in part because of this incident.
TFH director Brett Thomas penned a letter to the Titans this week, saying the company was terminating the sponsorship agreement. Thomas cited negative discussion around the team's performance as one of the chief reasons -- the Titans finished last in the NRL this year with four wins from 22 games.
But the letter, which was obtained by the Courier Mail, also called the performance of James at the Grand Final "embarrassing" and "offensive".
This is not, to say the least, how most people see it, and there's a fair old social media outcry against TFH today.
10 daily has contacted the company for comment. We'll update this story if and when we hear back.