Key All Blacks sponsor AIG
has released a statement on the Aaron Smith sex scandal that has also prompted comment from as high up as Prime Minister John Key, and Justice Minister Judith Collins.
Smith, who has done promotional work for AIG
and recently appeared on Insurance Business TV in Australia
, made a tearful statement today apologising to his girlfriend, family and team for his ‘huge mistake’ and error of judgment.
He has been stood down for one game and was on his way home from South Africa after getting caught cheating on his girlfriend in an airport toilet.
Today, an AIG
spokesperson said: “We are disappointed to learn of this matter.
“However, we support the actions that New Zealand Rugby is taking to reinforce and ensure that high standards and conduct are expected of its players.”
With the story now making headlines in the US, commentators have speculated that this kind of publicity will be of concern to the international insurer.
is not the only sponsor to admit its disappointment.
Adidas, another major brand which supports the team, said the recent series of off-field incidents were disappointing as they were negatively affecting rugby’s image.
Quentin Bleakley, the New Zealand country manager for Adidas, told the NZ Herald
: “Adidas has been the biggest sponsor of rugby in New Zealand since 1999 and we’ll continue to support the work that NZR is doing to nurture the game and inspire people to get out there and give their all on the field.
“We’re huge fans of the game and we’re disappointed that there have been a number of incidents which are impacting negatively on rugby’s image.
“It’s a game which has given so much to New Zealand – and we’re proud to be part of the success.”
Smith is also thought to be a brand ambassador for My Food Bag, who reportedly pulled sponsorship from the Chiefs following the recent stripper scandal.
My Food Bag’s PR firm released a statement on behalf of the company saying it had not had a chance to discuss the situation with Smith and had no comment at this time, the NZ Herald
Yesterday, when the news first broke, Prime Minister John Key joined in the chorus of those condemning Smith’s actions, saying the halfback had “clearly let himself and those that are close to him down”.
And Judith Collins told Paul Henry on his show this morning that while he shouldn’t have done it, the mother in her felt a bit sorry for him.
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