When Sachin Tendulkar said no to tobacco ads | Off the field News


Even as Bollywood stars have gone on the backfoot for being seen endorsing tobacco products, Sachin Tendulkar, arguably one of the highest-profile celebrities in the country, has steadfastly avoided falling to the temptation of easy money.
Never once in his 32-year public life, including 24 years of playing career, did he associate himself with a product that could cause health hazards. On more than one occasion, he was offered lucrative deals by such firms. But Tendulkar stood firm on his stand.
Most notably, during the 1996 World Cup, when the cricket economy was yet to see the boom, Tendulkar, the poster boy of Indian cricket then, played without a bat sponsor. While some of his teammates had brands associated with tobacco flashed on their bats, he played the championship without branding in his willow. The title sponsor of that edition of the World Cup, held in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, was Wills, a tobacco brand.
In 2010, the UB Group reportedly offered him Rs 20 crore to endorse its products but the Master Blaster declined it following which the Maharashtra Government publicly praised him. State Minister for Social Justice Shivajirao Moghe lauded Tendulkar for setting the right example.
“We appreciate Sachin that he is helping us indirectly in the de-addiction campaign run by the government and also setting up an example for others,” the Minister had said in a letter to Tendulkar. “I expect that other famous personalities would also follow the footsteps of Sachin and make the society addiction-free,” Moghe had said. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan once contemplated having Sachin as the face of the State’s anti-narcotics campaign.
“Sachin is a legend in his own field and has been bestowed the highest civilian honor of the country — the Bharat Ratna. You are more responsible for your deeds when people, especially the youth, look up to you and Sachin has stood up to that,” Raj Kamble, COO and founder of Famous Innovations, says.
Even in the IPL, when dozens of cricketers were roped in for the annual commercial that had a tagline “Oo La La La Le O”. Tendulkar refrained from participating in the campaign, the sole reason being the company running the ad produced alcohol. Tendulkar could not be reached for a comment but he has often said of his father’s influence in shunning such product.
“I am glad how he has set an example by never endorsing any tobacco or alcohol product throughout his cricketing career and beyond that. This bears testimony to his commitment to society, at large,” says Kamble.
The celebrities in India are in a moral dilemma over embracing tobacco and alcohol brands with Akshay Kumar being the latest to face public ire. He had to issue an apology for being seen endorsing a tobacco product lately. “I’m sorry. I would like to apologise to you, all my fans and well-wishers,” the actor said after facing social media backlash.