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No sanction for Saints after logo taping

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/04/2017

Wellington Saints won't face any sanction for taping over the National Basketball League logo on their playing singlets in their 102-79 win over the Canterbury Rams on Monday.

But the cause of their protest, the New Zealand NBL board's decision to reclassify Australia-born forward Josh Duinker from a local player to an import, will remain unchanged.

The NZ NBL said in a statement that it was within the board's power to carry out some form of disciplinary procedure, such as a fine.

"We understand that the Wellington Saints are upset with the ruling and that it may be restricting for them if they look to contract other players this season.

"For now, we accept their protest for what it is, a protest."

Duinker, who has a New Zealand passport, played for Nelson Giants in 2015 as a naturalised player as he was believed to be eligible under international basketball federation rules to play for New Zealand.

Duinker was this year contracted by the Saints as a naturalised player, but Basketball NZ was made aware early last month that he had played for the Netherlands national team in 2013.

This meant he was ineligible to play for New Zealand, and his status changed to that of a restricted player, although he can still play for the Saints in that capacity.

The decision on Duinker will stand, the NZ NBL statement said, after a "fair and robust" process was carried out to review and determine his eligibility.

The Saints players took a leaf from Sonny Bill Williams' book, after the cross-code star taped over the BNZ logo on his Blues Super Rugby jersey.

Under the conscientious objection clause in his contract, Williams objected to wearing the logo because his Islam faith forbids financial institutions charging interest and fees on loans.

Instead, Williams is wearing the logo of child support agency Plunket, another core backer of the Blues.

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