Mitchell Johnson, an Australian cricket legend, has resigned from his position at ABC Radio due to a betting clause in his contract.
The former fast bowler was scheduled to commentate on One Day International matches in Queensland beginning this weekend, but ABC Radio reportedly does not hire anyone associated with a gambling company. Johnson, along with former AFL player Brendan Fevola, appears in advertisements for Bet Nation, an Australian sports betting company.
Johnson has accused ABC of hypocrisy, claiming that the Australian Government, which funds the public broadcaster, derives a large portion of its revenue from gambling taxes.
Cricket, the Australian Football League (AFL), and the National Rugby League (NRL) are all sports that receive corporate sponsorship from betting companies.
Cricket Australia has 27 approved betting providers and has been in partnership with bet365 for a decade, according to Code Sports, while the AFL is closely aligned with Sportsbet.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the ABC team in recent seasons and was excited to do it again,” Johnson said. “There appears to be a lot of hypocrisy associated with this rule.” I don’t understand, and you begin to wonder what you can and cannot say if you are requesting them.
“It’s blown me away a little bit: do we have to align with the ABC’s moral compass?” There is nothing I can do… That’s the rule, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to work with them.”