Indigenous Australian netball star opens up on 'toughest few weeks' of her life amid sponsorship controversy
Australian netball Donnell Wallam has opened up about the $15 million Hancock Prospecting sponsorship controversy that saw her cop the brunt of criticism.
On Wednesday (October 26) night, the Indigenous Australian scored the decisive point in an epic 55-54 win over England in Newcastle.
Catching the ball and stepping past the defender, she laid the ball up and into the net right on the buzzer.
This finish = Goosebumps forever. pic.twitter.com/GhBEa8Cxtn— Origin Australian Diamonds (@AussieDiamonds) October 26, 2022
It signalled one of the most incredible wins in Diamonds history, and a fairytale moment in what has been an emotionally charged and tough few weeks.
Gina Rinehart pulled her $15 million sponsorship of the Aussie national team after players took issue with wearing a uniform that banded her company Hancock Prospecting’s logo.
The player’s took umbrage with offensive comments made by Rinehart’s father Lang Hancock about First Nations people back in 1984.
Hancock had infamously suggested that Indigenous Australians should be sterilised to ‘breed themselves out’.
The players got behind Wallam who was said to be uncomfortable with sporting a logo that represented Hancock.
It led to a flurry of criticism and abuse her way, but through it all Wallam has stood her ground and come out the other end a role model and hero to her fellow players.
Following her last-second heroics, the 28-year-old was moved to tears when discussing the tumultuous few weeks.
She said: “ I was kind of relieved to finally get my chance on the court.
"It's been one of the toughest few weeks of my life, so to finally get out there and to just play in this dress was really special. It makes the last couple of weeks feel like a blur.
"It's really special and I just hope that I'm a role model to the young girls and boys coming through for their turn.
“It's been a long time coming, so I hope I make everyone proud out there."
Wallam entered the court to a raucous reception from those in attendance, which was doubled when she scored the winning point.
She paid tribute to her teammates and Diamonds staff for their support through the ordeal.
She continued: “Every single one of the team members, the staff, has just been amazing.
"We were just trying to let the outside noise not impact us and they've just wrapped their arms around me and really embraced me and that's just so special.
"Thanks so much to everybody for their support. All the kind messages I've been getting, it hasn't gone unnoticed and it's really helped in the last couple of weeks."
Featured Image Credit: Netball Australia/Twitter.
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