Sonny Bill Williams' manager has lashed out at the "malicious" coverage of the All Black midfielder's links to controversial Muslim clerics.
The dual-code international's associations with Muslim clerics Mufti Ismail Menk and Ebrahim Bham has come under the spotlight following revelations luxury car company BMW was reviewing its ambassador deal with Williams due to a string of online complaints.
Articles have appeared in a variety of publications about Williams' links with Muslim extremists and a number of people have complained about the associations on BMW's Facebook page.
Khoder Nasser, Williams long-time manager, is angry some of the comments have been included in the media coverage of the furore.
"We cannot believe how malicious these media attacks have been around Sonny," Nasser told the Herald.
"In particular, the linking of social media posts into those media reports is deplorable. It is hurtful and hateful to Sonny."
Nasser believes Williams should not be persecuted for who he chooses to associate with.
"I challenge anybody to find any hateful words or behaviour that can be attributed to Sonny," he said.
"It's quite incredible because Sonny has done nothing wrong. Sonny has never propagated any of the stuff that these reports are linking him too."