Lance “Buddy” Franklin says his company will stop selling T-shirts or merchandise featuring the Aboriginal flag for the time being, following stinging criticism directed at his relationship with controversial manufacturer WAM Clothing.
The Indigenous AFL superstar was on Monday condemned by Aboriginal Olympic gold medallist Nova Peris for entering into dealings with WAM. WAM have issued cease and desist letters to Indigenous groups that have sought to sell products with the Aboriginal flag to which it holds a copyright following an agreement with the flag’s creator, Aboriginal artist Harold Thomas.
Having considered his position, Franklin issued a statement on Tuesday via his Buddy Authentic company’s Instagram page, saying that he would cease selling WAM’s products until the issue is resolved.
“I have been deeply disturbed by comments targeting me about the use of the Aboriginal flag on T-shirts we produced through the only licensed and legal avenue, being through WAM Clothing, and in doing so, with full and due respect to the artist Harold Thomas,” Franklin said.
“Our intention was to produce the T-shirt as an expression of my cultural pride and to encourage Australians of all backgrounds to wear our flag, that is an official flag of our country, with pride.
“It was never our intention to disrespect others in Aboriginal communities, and as a result of this issue, we will not be seeking to order or sell any further T-shirts or merchandise until the matter of our flag being made freely available is resolved for the good of our people, and our country.”