Current All Blacks Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown, along with former All Black Stephen Donald, have been slammed for advertising alcohol.
The trio are co-founders of a new Ready-to-drink beverage called Grins, and have been personally promoting it heavily on social media.
But the move has not gone down well with rugby league legend and former chair of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising Sir Graham Lowe, who reckons the trio are abusing their position as role models to younger members of society.
“I’m very surprised that they’ve gone into it. I just think it’s tacky,” Lowe told Newstalk ZB’s D’Arcy Waldegrave.
“To be an All Black or a former All Black and to be involved in a campaign that is focused towards young people, I think, quite apart from everything else, is tacky. I’m a bit disappointed and surprised.”
A recent advertisement by the company featuring a man taking a swig from a Grins can while wakeboarding was already removed after formal complaints.
Lowe said he thought it should be worth considering preventing player from endorsing the alcohol industry at all.
“I think we’ve come to a sad place. Surely those men can see and are aware of the harm that this can cause and it should not be up to the governing body or whoever – I’m sure they’ll have their own view on it. It shouldn’t be up to that, it should be up to us all as individuals,” continued Lowe.
“We know what harm it can cause. It doesn’t cause harm to everybody, but for some it can cause and start off a painful and terrible life. And if these guys aren’t aware of that, they’re just taking the low hanging fruit, which is what they are [doing]. It’s a really tacky stain on their careers.
“They’re probably getting paid good money to do it. At the end of the day the dollars overrule what’s right and what’s wrong. Should young people be exposed to alcohol advertising? No, in my view they shouldn’t. There’s no grey area. It’s either right or it’s wrong. I think it’s wrong.”