Freyja Reed and her family have strong feelings about fish farms.
They also love soccer, and by all accounts, Freyja has quite a talent for the game.
She’s reportedly hoping to user her soccer skills to secure an education in the form of a post-secondary scholarship.
So when Marine Harvest Canada became the sponsor of the Upper Island Riptide soccer program – which runs all eight Tier-2 teams in the region – the family ran into a conflict.
They could pretend they are okay with the company’s existence when they are absolutely not and have Freyja continue her ascent in the game, or they could remain true to their values.
I suppose there was a third option: relocate their family so she could play somewhere else.
Since they had recently relocated to Comox from Sointula in order for Freyja to play at a level she could thrive at, the family came to a negotiated middle ground with the steering committee of the program.
Or so they thought.
The agreement they made was that Freyja could continue to play for the Riptide U-15 girls squad and wear a uniform that did not sport the Marine Harvest Logo, as the rest of the uniforms now did, and she wouldn’t have to attend fundraisers where Marine Harvest product was sold.
Under the agreement, however, the family says they were also “gagged” from expressing their displeasure with the sponsorship itself.
When they refused, and continued to speak up about their opposition to the agreement, the entire team was suspended.
That is nonsense.
Now, I understand that it doesn’t look great to have a member of an organization speaking out negatively about the source of the funds that make it able to operate, but the overreaction by the steering committee to the issue is appalling.
Imagine, for just one second, that Travis Lulay of the BC Lions told someone that he would rather eat a KFC chicken burger than one from Wendy’s, because he thinks Wendy’s chicken burgers are gross. Now imagine that because Wendy’s is the sponsor for CFL’s Friday night coverage, the CFL tells the Lions they couldn’t participate in the league anymore.
You can’t imagine that happening, can you?
Because that would be nonsense. But that’s what the steering committee has done.
They have suspended the operations of an entire team because one player and their family doesn’t like their team’s sponsor.
Marine Harvest has made it clear that they have no interest in stifling the discussion, and has made no threats to pull funding, so why is the steering committee taking such drastic action?
Travis Lulay, in the above example, would likely be fined by the organization for, “Conduct contrary to the terms of your contract, which states…” or something.
Maybe if it was an egregious enough statement, or he continued to press the point, he would be cut from the team.
But there’s no way the rest of the organization would be punished. Because that would be nonsense.
Have I said that already?