Sonny Bill Williams' manager Khoder Nasser has lashed out at the media after a debacle that accused the player of associating himself with homophobic clerics.
BMW recently warned they would review their ambassador deal with the All Black star after they deemed the clerics Mufti Ismail Menk and Ebrahim Bham controversial.
Nasser was outraged by the attack on Williams and especially because they used his social media posts in the articles, which Nasser believes shouldn't be allowed.
"We cannot believe how malicious these media attacks have been around Sonny," Nasser told the New Zealand Herald.
"In particular, the linking of social media posts into those media reports is deplorable. It is hurtful and hateful to Sonny."
Nasser has come out in defence of his client saying who Williams associates himself with should not affect his business dealings.
"I challenge anybody to find any hateful words or behaviour that can be attributed to Sonny," Nasser said.
"It's quite incredible because Sonny has done nothing wrong. Sonny has never propagated any of the stuff that these reports are linking him too."
Williams' relationship with the clerics raised eyebrows after Menk recorded a discriminatory outburst in 2013 which led to his tour of the United Kingdom being cancelled. In a video on Youtube, which has since been deleted, he compared homosexual sex to rape and that homosexuals were worse than animals. A sentiment BMW, understandably, would not want associated with their brand.
He said, "with all due respect to the animals, (gay people) are worse than those animals. Remember, we are saying, with all due respect to the animals, because to the animals it is an insult to them to even suggest this to them. Automatically the pigs and the dogs do not engage in this (homosexuality)."
AUT professor of sport management Dr Geoff Dickson told Stuff.co.nz that Williams needs to reconsider who he surrounds himself with as this could seriously affect his brand.
"If BMW are rethinking then it's already impacting.
"The thing with Sonny Bill is, if he's seen to be associating with anything unacceptable he will, by association, become unacceptable," Dickson said.
"Sonny Bill needs to think carefully about the company that he keeps if he wishes to maintain his commercial value. He has a right to freedom of association, but the market may not necessarily value that association."