Turning player against her teammates is ugly

The firm is buying social license in its deal to sponsor eight Vancouver Island Riptide youth elite soccer team

Marine Harvest needs to rein in the soccer bullies. Turning Freyja Reed’s teammates against her is just ugly.

In hopes of improving its wild-salmon-killer image, the firm is buying social license in its deal to sponsor eight Vancouver Island Riptide youth elite soccer teams.

Freyja, 14, believes fish farming is harmful and she balked at the MH logo on her uniform, the changing of all team names to ‘Marine Harvest Riptide’ and selling MH fish-farm salmon as a fundraiser. If one of the teams wins the provincials, the Marine Harvest team name will be on the cup and in all the media. She doesn’t want to win a trophy with that name attached.

The story of the Riptide Steering Committee forbidding Freyja and her mother from criticizing the Marine Harvest deal went viral. So, the Committee suspended all activities for Freyja’s U15 team and technical training for all Riptide teams. Angry Riptide parents (not recognizing the manipulation) ripped into Freyja and her mom, blaming them for the suspension and loss of training.

The Marine Harvest name is now associated with muzzling free speech, trying to push Freyja out of the team, and the use of intimidation and hate as tools to achieve a corporate goal, crushing a girl’s dreams and friendships.

Riptide officials are doing Marine Harvest’s dirty work. Suspending the whole team and all training was clearly designed to turn teammates against Freyja. How vindictive. How cruel. And Marine Harvest’s inaction to rein in Riptide strongly suggests the company is complicit.

Clearly this is not what Freyja wanted. But in showing such strength and resolve, standing up to this corporation and its fawners, she is inspiring. And, she’s revealed Marine Harvest’s true sponsorship colours: it’s about profit, not people.

Jamie Bowman

Comox