Giant South African sport merchandise retail outlet Totalsports has been forced to remove posters of controversial rugby star Eben Etzebeth from its stores due to what they allegedly term negative impact on its business imperatives.
The decision comes after Etzebeth found himself embroiled in a racism controversy.
“As a brand, we don’t do controversies, we do sport — so we made the decision to remove his poster. Without taking sides or passing judgment, we wanted to make sure all our customers feel comfortable in our stores,” a spokesperson for Totalsports said.
He’s accused of running amok in Langebaan, Western Cape and physically abusing a black person in a targeted attack.
The athlete is in a massive battle with the SA Human Rights Commission, who are taking the accusations very seriously.
The move which has seemingly angered numerous customers, who took to social media that they would no longer be supporting Totalsports, which has around 280 sports goods stores nationwide.
Some South African rugby fans felt Totalsports had actually chosen sides by removing posters before the outcome of any investigation into Etzebeth’s case.
They further said that they will not support the stores due to their judgemental ability of condemning someone before even a formal verdict has been passed by the Commission of Inquiry looking into the case.
South Africans Reactions
Despite the controversy, Eben Etzebeth has been a prominent feature in the Boks’ run to the Rugby World Cup Final.
He played against Wales on Sunday and remains in contention to face England this weekend in the 11am final to be broadcast on SABC2 on Saturday.
The final is a grudge match against an England side whom they defeated in 2007.
The massive final decides whether the Webb Ellis Cup comes to South Africa for the 3rd time after the 1995 and 2007 triumphs.
By Gerald Dandah