In yesterday’s edition of Crikey former cricketer Stuart MacGill did something pretty ballsy. He told Crikey that even though he was  contractually obliged to Cricket Australia’s “gold partner” — that’d be Kentucky Fried Chicken — as a player he had refused to participate in a KFC ad. In the same story he urged his former colleagues to stop spruiking junk food to kids:

“Cricket Australia and KFC would say they’re promoting a healthy lifestyle, but it’s absolute tripe.”

For that, he’s received brickbats and bouquets. To his credit, he’s answering his critics personally in the comments section on the website.

In today’s edition Paul Barry continues to roll out his Just Chew It series chronicling how fast food hijacked sport.

New research from the University of Sydney claims the vast majority of Australian elite athletes are unhappy about sports stars promoting junk food and alcohol. And then there’s Coca Cola.

The beverage giant told Crikey in a statement on Monday: “The Coca-Cola Company do not market to children under 12 years of age and this is a strict global policy that has been in place for many years. This policy also stands true for our sports sponsorships.”

But as we report today, for the past 20 years Coca-Cola has sponsored Little Athletics in New South Wales, which is for kids as young as four. Coca-Cola also sponsors or has sponsored a variety of junior soccer, cricket and baseball teams around the country for children as young as five, either with Coke or its Powerade brand.

Crikey asked Coca-Cola to explain the Little Athletics breach and a spokesman replied 24 hours later to say they were “still looking into it”.

We’ll continue to look into it too, just because they clearly need the help.

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Peter Fray

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