LIV Golf Invitational signals a dangerous evolution in Saudi Arabia’s sportswashing

Sports June 13, 2022 Sports
LIV Golf Invitational signals a dangerous evolution in Saudi Arabia’s sportswashing

Dustin Johnson of the U.S. shakes hands with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund and Newcastle United Chairman, during the the LIV Golf Invitational Series at the Centurion Club in London on Thursday.

From NBC News | Opinion by Karim Zidan, investigative journalist covering the intersection of sports and politics

As long as athletes are willing to trade their integrity and moral obligation for profit, Saudi Arabia will continue to enjoy unmatched propaganda success.

The most controversial tournament in golf history teed off at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire, England, on Thursday, threatening to upend a century-old professional tour in the process.

The PGA Tour — the organizer of the main professional golf tours — responded by issuing suspensions to the 17 players who signed on to participate, barring them from competing in PGA events. It has also led human rights activists and organizations to accuse the Saudi-backed event of sportswashing — a term used to describe the practice of investing in sports events to polish a controversial country’s image on the international stage and to distract from accusations of human rights violations.

Photo by James Marsh / Shutterstock

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