Mal Meninga has labelled a decision by a major Gold Coast sponsor to include Ryan James' NRL grand final gaffe as a reason to drop the club as "weak".
The Titans were told this month by construction and event hire company TFH they wanted to sever ties with the club one year early due to a myriad of reasons.
According to an email published by News Corp, one of those was James failure to finish the Welcome to Country before the NRL grand final after the captain bungled his speech.
In the email reportedly sent to the Titans, TFH labelled the gaffe as "embarrassing" and "offensive", claiming it had weighed heavily" on their decision.
The revelation has sparked widespread criticism of the decision, with James a proud Indigenous All Stars representative.
And Meninga, who is head of performance and culture at the Titans, hit out at the company over the move.
"I think it's a pretty weak excuse," Meninga told AAP.
"They have been great sponsors of the Titans for a long period of time. I know there are some other things in that letter sent to them (the club).
"But for that to be part of it, it's in pretty poor taste."
TFH also listed the Titans poor on-field performances as another reason for the split, after they claimed the wooden spoon in 2019.
They have been on the club's books as a sponsor since 2012, having stuck by them through a number of other issues at the club.
The company also remain a sponsor of both Manly and Cronulla.
Meanwhile, Kangaroos coach Meninga went into bat for James over the mistake.
"Ryan was a little embarrassed by it all, but hey we forget things," Meninga said.
"As I say to everyone, you put that on a scale of the negative things that happen in your life. It doesn't even get a run to start off with."
TFH have been contacted for comment.
Australian Associated Press