Posts Tagged ‘Saudis’

Sanctimony Comes To Golf

June 11th, 2022 No comments


With all of the ongoing vexations occurring in the world today, the latest headline grabber comes from the sports world.  As we all know, the world of ‘sports’ has changed dramatically over the last few generations, evolving from earnest competitions among talented participants to become grossly commercial endeavours pitting billionaires vs billionaires and their stables of ponies.  Sports is big business and most everyone in the world is a fan of some kind of sports activity.

Worldwide, but especially in the US, sports is not a pastime of leisure, or of dilettantes.  It is serious business as virtually every college and university in America has a sports program that is the farm system for players hoping to turn professional.  None of these programs would exist if not for the monetization potential of any particular sport.  I suppose the javelin toss and hammer throw could be the exceptions.  They’ve yet to make the televising of throwing spears or iron balls appealing to the masses…. but maybe one day.

There is no question that money is the lifeblood for sports; we’ve become accustomed to eye popping sums offered to professional athletes based on their perceived ability to fill a stadium, draw TV viewership or hawk products.

One of the few sports to have escaped (somewhat) this crass commercialism was golf. Sure, the players wore logo’d shirts and hats, but the players were always portrayed as gentlemen whose goals were loftier than just the prize cheque for winning a tournament.  It was good enough to be recognized as good.  Or it was… until money started to drive the game, which began with Arnold Palmer and ultimately with the monetization of Tiger Woods.  As the game changed from the genteel sentiments of Bobby Jones to the present day “Nascar-ing” of the sport, money has become the dominant influence of the game.  Forget Titleist or Callaway, the number one driver in golf….is money.

The recent uproar in the genteel golf world laid bare this reality as an upstart league, the LIV tour, backed by wealthy Saudis, sought to lure top tier players away from the long established PGA tour by offering eye watering amounts of money to play in their tournaments.  To illustrate the lure, consider that Tiger Woods, arguably the greatest in the history of the game, won 18 major tournaments along with 82 regular victories.  His total earnings for his career amounts to just over 120 million dollars.  Dustin Johnson, with only a fraction of Wood’s success was offered 125 million dollars, just to come over to the new league. I’m not going to judge Johnson’s sense of allegiance or values, but we all know, he isn’t going to win 18 majors and 82 tournaments in his career.  The same is true for all of the other notable names that have elected to forgo the PGA brand for the LIV offering.  In other words, these athletes are doing what every other athlete does in any other sport, they go to the highest bidder.  Money has affected golf; what a shock!

Of course the other criticism levelled against the defecting players is that they are supporting a regime which has an abysmal record on human rights.  Not only that, but the Saudis are the source of nationals responsible for terror attacks on the US.  None of those accusations are unfounded.   But as in most narratives, there is the other side of the coin.  Nike, one of the biggest sponsors of players on the PGA tour, (and in fact all sports) manufacture most of their gear in China, a nation which pays as much attention to human rights as Italian drivers do to stop signs.

You could argue that the big money paid to elite athletes sponsored by Nike are in fact off the backs of suffering worker bees oppressed in China.  It’s somewhat akin to the superiority that drivers of electric cars feel over petrol drivers, even though their electricity is made from burning coal.  If we’re going to demonize nations for their repressive actions, that’s fair.  It’s also fair to then point out the repressions in all nations, including the US and Canada, oft considered paragons of liberty.

It’s fair to say that the past two years have seen the most repressive human rights agendas perpetrated by these very nations that most vocally protest the deeds of the Saudis.  As of this writing, Canada for example, has yet to allow all of its citizens from leaving the country. Certain parts of the US still force people to inject harmful products into their bodies in order to work.  Bank accounts are seized over actions critical to the governments.  I don’t expect PGA players to refuse cheques issued by sponsors in these countries.

Both arguments against the defecting players are hypocritical.  No one amongst us would pass on an offer of significantly higher income for doing the same thing.  That is illogical. If we expect these guys to play for the love of the sport, then people should also be expected to work because they love accounting.  As for the association with human rights thuggery; have a look around; objects are closer than they appear.


Crisis? What Crisis?

October 21st, 2018 No comments

Source: Migrant caravan re-forms in Mexico, members vow to reach US

If people believe that the ‘migrant’ caravan currently on route to the US via the southern Mexican border is a spontaneous movement of refugees, then we have a free health care plan to sell you.  We haven’t read anywhere in the media of the circumstances which would cause thousands of people to spontaneously form a collective mob and head to the US border as if it was a seasonal migration of ducks.  There’s no war in Central America, nor famine, nor pestilence.

While we can’t dismiss the idea of a road trip embarked upon out of boredom, it usually occurs among a few friends, never in my recollection including an entire village of 5000.  That would create a problem of who’s going to drive.  In the circumstance at hand, driving isn’t an issue, they’ve decided to walk the thousand miles instead.  But instead of staying in Mexico, or heading the other way to South America, the US is the target destination.

Anyone who’s ever been part of a road trip is aware of the simple logistics involved: food, accommodations, bathrooms and of course Starbucks locales. Think of arranging that for 5000 people. Either this is a very intelligent mob, in which case they would have taken a train at least, or else someone is shepherding the process and paying for all the bottled water and Subway sandwiches for the trip.  Who would have an interest in that we wonder?  Purely by coincidence, the arrival of this mob is scheduled to arrive…just around the time of the American mid term elections. Throughout the coverage of this event, the media characterizes the mob as migrants.  That’s like saying a home invader is a visitor.  As usual, the opposite speak of the left is used to obfuscate the reality observed by our own lying eyes.

The other newsworthy event being pushed by the news outlets is the murder of the Saudi ‘journalist’ Jamal Khashoggi. While the guy probably had an unpleasant demise, the narrative surrounding the circumstances are eye rollingly absurd.  The Saudis claim he got into a fist fight….with 18 combatants, which he somehow lost…and then subsequently sawed into pieces by the sore winners.  The media reports that this innocent, benign journalist was tortured because he wrote unflatteringly about the Saudis and yada yada yada, Trump.

Like the characterization of the ‘migrants’ in the caravan, Khasshogi is portrayed as a ‘journalist’. This is like saying Elizabeth Warren is a Cherokee.  Ex White House adviser Sebastian Gorka stated it best when he wrote:

“…This is a man who was a fully paid up member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological mothership that gave us Hamas, al-Qaeda, and, eventually, the Islamic State. He is the same man who, under the banner of his organization, DAWN (Democracy for the Arab World), was providing the glide path for Islamists to pervert and subvert any nascent structures of representative government in the Middle East. Shades of Orwell and 1984’s “War is Peace” Newspeak. But this time it’s “Democracy is Salafist Theocracy…”

But he did contribute the odd article for that paragon of truth, The Washington Post and so a journalist he is.  Coincidently again, this ‘crisis’ with the Saudis comes at the same time as the American mid term elections.  Boy, what are the odds?