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Era of ‘woke’ player arrives but Carlton CEO Brian Cook says ultimately it’s the club’s call on sponsorships

Era of ‘woke’ player arrives but Carlton CEO Brian Cook says ultimately it’s the club’s call on sponsorships

Carlton CEO Brian Cook is happy to discuss sponsorships with the players, but says ultimately it’s the club’s decision when it comes to finances.

The sporting world has been rocked by two major sponsorship sagas with netball and cricket both at the forefront.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Carlton CEO Brian Cook speaks exclusively to 7NEWS.

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Netball Australia is under all sorts of financial pressure after mining magnate Gina Rinehart’s company Hancock Prospecting tore up its $15m lifeline sponsorship which was set to save the sport.

The ugly split between the two came after the Diamonds took a hard stance against the company for historical comments made by its founder, Lang Hancock, when he suggested First Nations people should be sterilised in order to “solve” the “problem”.

Cricket Australia will end its sponsorship agreement with Alinta Energy next year on the back of ethical concerns raised by ODI and Test captain Pat Cummins.

Cook said the sponsorship issue would be discussed at Carlton’s board meeting on Wednesday night.

Brian Cook with players during a Carlton training session at Ikon Park in 2021. Credit: AFL Photos via Getty Images

“That is so new. Woke sponsorship I suppose. It’s so new. We’re really in early discussion stages,” Cook told 7NEWS.

“Something we need to be very wary of and need to plan for in the future I think.

“There is always an element of making sure you have player satisfaction, player engagement, but we need to make sure we have a pretty good business model.

“I have no issue in discussing sponsorship with players, but I don’t necessarily think it’s their decision.”

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Meanwhile, Sydney Swans CEO Tom Harley said athletes needed to be heard in a “safe environment”, but they all also needed to be made aware of a club or governing organisation’s needs.

“When it comes to the athletes, (it) is absolutely (about) creating an environment where all of our athletes and all of our staff, for that matter, have their opinions heard in a safe environment,” Harley said on a teleconference panel for sponsor Origin Energy.

“Then there‘s education the other way as well, around what’s important to the club from a governance point of view.

“I think sport’s maturing in a lot of ways and we’re all mature enough to understand that a key component to enable sports to thrive is commercial partnerships, but there’s clearly a sharper consideration on them at the moment.

“I think it‘s important, just as a general comment, that we’re all trying our best. It‘s important to be kind when assessing how we’re all going. I would absolutely like to be able to say, from a Swans point of view, that there’s never any sort of malicious intent if we step out of line with anything.

“So you bring (players) along the journey, be open and comfortable with feedback, and also create an environment where we’re constantly educating our people as to what’s some of the commercial imperatives of running a sports club, which is ultimately to put our best foot forward on the field which is the program for the players and the salaries for the players as well.”

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