Sponsor backflips on decision to leave Titans

TITANS sponsor TFH has backflipped on its decision to cut ties with the club, apologising for their "overreaction" to Ryan James' grand final brain fade.

TFH Hire Services director Brett Thomas said James had "unfairly" become the public focus of a private issue between the company and Gold Coast after he forgot some of the words to the Welcome to Country address at the NRL grand final.

The company initially labelled it "embarrassing" and "offensive" and told the Titans they wanted out of their partnership only to announce on Friday they would remain linked with the club after being chastised throughout the nation.

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"I sincerely apologise to Ryan James, and his family, for any hurt my comments caused. It was a stupid thing to say, and it's not how I think or who I am," Thomas said.

"During sponsorship negotiations with the Titans, I overreacted and unfairly brought Ryan into a situation that had nothing to do with him.

"I've known Ryan for seven years and have a great relationship with him. I've spoken with Ryan over the past few days to check on his welfare and to personally apologise to him.

"Ryan is a man of tremendous character, and I'm grateful he accepted my apology.

Ryan James performs the Welcome to Country during the 2019 NRL Grand Final match between the Canberra Raiders and the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)
Ryan James performs the Welcome to Country during the 2019 NRL Grand Final match between the Canberra Raiders and the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

"Ryan does amazing work for our community, and grassroots rugby league, and we've both committed to continue to work together for the betterment of our community.

"TFH is also proud to reaffirm our sponsorship with the Titans in 2020. TFH has been with the Titans since 2013, and we remain committed to the Club and our local community.

"We stand united with the Titans. There are lots of good things happening at the Club, and we are excited for the 2020 season."

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Titans Head of Performance and Culture Mal Meninga applauded Thomas and TFH for resolving the situation with humility and respect.

"Like Ryan did on grand final night, Brett made a mistake, and just like with Ryan, people are prepared to forgive and forget if that mistake is owned with sincerity and authenticity," Meninga said.

"Brett and TFH have been long-term supporters of the Titans, and that they have put their hand up over this, and apologised directly to Ryan for their mistake, shows the real character of the company that we are proud to call our partners at the Titans.

"We look forward to TFH being with us again in 2020, and continuing this great relationship and our shared passion for rugby league and our local community."