Canterbury’s Mad Monday dramas have cost them one of their long-term major sponsors, with Jaycar ending its nine-year partnership with the NRL club on Friday.
A sponsor of the Bulldogs since midway through 2009 season, Jaycar chief executive Gary Johnston emailed Canterbury counterpart Andrew Hill on Friday morning to inform him the deal had been terminated.
It comes just a day after the NRL hit the club with a proposed $250,000 fine, while two players were charged by NSW Police, and four in total fined by the club following their highly publicised end-of-season drinking session.
Staunch supporters of Canterbury throughout their association, Johnston even went to the lengths of publicly defending the club through another end-of-season celebrations scandal in 2012.
But he said this week’s dramas, which included naked images of Adam Elliott and Asipeli Fine on a Sydney pub balcony being published, prompted him to sever his back-of-jersey ties a year early due to upcoming changes in his own business.
“We’re planning to float our business on the Australian stock exchange and I have to consider what potential investors might think of a company that condones this behaviour,” Johnston told AAP.
“I have to make it clear I don’t. And the best way to show that is to dissociate yourself with the club altogether.
“I didn’t want to react in a knee-jerk fashion about it, but I decided by Friday, five days after the event, that it was time for me to act.”
Johnston has a close relationship with the former Bulldogs board including following their long-standing relationship and on Friday he bemoaned the fact he wasn’t alerted to the situation sooner this week.
However, he also admitted he felt the players had been “shabbily treated” by the media storm that has surrounded the incident, though the onus was still on them and the club.
“I can’t believe they let it happen, with the coach there and other senior players there,” he said.
“(But) they did have a private function and the only mistake a couple of the players made way to walk out onto a balcony where they were hijacked by a long-range camera.
“I think the only thing they can do is have their Mad Monday celebrations inside a bank vault.”
Jaycar’s withdrawal comes after Bulldogs captain Josh Jackson said on stage at the club’s presentation night on Thursday that the team were “embarrassed” and “remorseful”.
Jackson also defended the character of the players involved.