It's hard to know who is going to come out of this Warriors' sponsorship debacle looking worse: the NRL or Telstra.
It's a big call for both of them to suddenly demand that the Warriors drop their long-time sponsor Vodafone. It's an even bigger call to demand that in the middle of a blinking pandemic when corporates are cutting back on advertising.
This is a 22-year relationship between the Warriors and Vodafone worth a million bucks a year with two years left in the contract. This looks harsh. There is no way this is going to win praise from fans of the club or the league.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out Telstra's behind this demand. Sounds Telstra signed a new contract to sponsor the NRL a couple of years ago and might have inserted an exclusivity clause into that contract. So yes, they're enforcing what they're entitled to.
But you have to wonder at the NRL allowing this to happen. After all they've asked of the Warriors this season, shouldn't they have resisted, and defended the club given what's going on economically?
Now fair enough if you're wondering why now? Why is Telstra enforcing this clause all of a sudden? Good question.
There's a couple of theories. One is that Telstra has a larger strategic move planned for the NRL next year so it's shutting down the Vodafone sponsorship pre-emptively.
The other theory is that the Warriors are just winning over too many fans who are falling in love with their story this season.
If the latter is the case, then it makes it even more stupid that Telstra and the NRL are doing this right now
Because fans know how much is already being asked of this club and these guys. It's a big thing to ask them to relocate to Australia, to dangle the prospect of bringing their families over and then not delivering on that.
The Warriors have just been through the loss of players who've gone home, a change of coach and they've still turned up to play.
And now this?
And unless Telstra and the NRL can explain this away it looks a lot like a PR own goal for both of them.
* Heather Du Plessis-Allan hosts Drive, 4pm-7pm weekdays on Newstalk ZB