Mason nearly lost $100K BULLDOGS bad boy Willie Mason has narrowly avoided being sacked from a $100,000 sponsorship contract with a leading sportswear company. Despite claiming he wanted to clean up his tattered image, Champion Sportswear's board of directors this week wanted Mason axed as a company ambassador. Only the intervention of company managing director Vaughan Richards saved Mason from the embarrassment of having his rich deal torn up. Mason is appearing on billboards throughout Sydney, mainly in the city's west, promoting the company's apparel. His ability to increase Champion's productivity also saved the Bulldogs, New South Wales and Australia forward. Champion's conservative board wanted Mason cut after he belittled Sydney radio station 2GB reporter Michelle Keighran at Sydney airport last week. It was the culmination of several off-field problems involving Mason. A photo of Keighran on page one of The Daily Telegraph on April 17 complaining about Mason's behaviour led to the board wanting the forward to be cut as an ambassador. But Richards stepped in and Mason was saved.