Smith disappears from Weet-Bix website
Steve Smith is no longer visible on the website of breakfast cereal Weet-Bix website as the brand’s owner considers the future of its relationship with the Australian cricket captain after he admitted to being part of a ball-tampering plot.
Smith was featured on the cereal’s home page until recently and now Weet-Bix owner Sanitarium – a wholly owned subsidiary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church – said it is awaiting the results of the investigation by Cricket Australia.
“We are interested in the detail of their investigation and the actions Cricket Australia will take on this matter,” Sanitarium, which counts Smith as a brand ambassador, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Like the rest of Australia, we have been incredibly disappointed by the actions taken by the team over the weekend in South Africa.”
Socceroo star Tim Cahill’s December, 2015 tweet welcoming the unveiling of Smith as a so-called “Weet-Bix Kid” is still visible on the cereal’s official Twitter account but the initial announcement that Cahill retweeted is no longer visible. There are no other tweets relating to Smith on the Weet-Bix account since December 2015.
Smith also fronts a marketing campaign for Fox Sports alongside Cahill, Matildas soccer star Sam Kerr, Sydney Swans player Buddy Franklin and several other major sports names. A Fox Sports spokesperson said the marketing agreement has not been discussed.
Other major sponsors of cricket, including Qantas, have voiced their disappointment in the national team following the scandal, which involved senior players hatching a plan to tamper with the ball during the recently concluded test match against South Africa.
“We are in discussions with Cricket Australia as this issue unfolds,” the airline said in a statement.
The incident, which has since led to reports that coach Darren Lehmann is expected to quit the team in the next 24 hours, comes at a time when major networks are negotiating broadcasting rights. Veteran media analyst Steve Allen on Monday told AAP ratings will probably suffer for the rest of the series in South Africa, and that networks will likely challenge Cricket Australia’s demands for the next five-year contract. Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said the association will present the findings of the inquiry on Wednesday morning, local time.