By Ken Reed
After berating players like Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson for leaving the PGA Tour to take huge sums of cash from the Saudi-backed LIV Tour, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan sold out to the same murderous, human rights-abusing Saudi Arabian government group. It wasn’t that long ago that Monahan was appalled that some of his players were doing business with these people.
Tuesday, it was announced that the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Tour would merge. In this case, “merge” is a bit of a code word for the Saudi’s acquisition of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour. Yes, the PGA Tour will control the board that oversees the golf part of the deal (and Monahan negotiated himself a nice new promotion to head that up), but the Saudis, more specifically, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (basically, a wealthy PR firm in charge of sportswashing for the Saudi government) will be in charge of everything else, including financing and business operations. The PIF will be the exclusive investor in the newly formed golf organization. It’s exactly what the Saudis wanted, as they can now kick their sportswashing machinery into high gear and use their vast sums of money to polish the ugliness of their human rights behavior.
As Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel wrote:”There is no question the Saudi Arabian government has proven its depravity — ‘scary mother[expletives]’ no less than Phil Mickelson, its greatest supporter, called the group.” The Saudi group has committed numerous human rights atrocities, including the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed and dismembered by a bone saw, according to American intelligence services. Even Mickelson admitted the Saudis “killed Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay.”
Sounds like just the kind of group you’d want heading up your sport.
Monahan and his corporate board cut this deal in secrecy. Most, if not all, of the current PGA Tour players found out about the merger on social media, not from Monahan.
Collin Morikawa tweeting Tuesday morning, “I love finding out morning news on Twitter.”
Then there’s guys like Rory McElroy, who passionately and sincerely argued Monahan’s case against players taking the blood money from the LIV Tour while Monahan remained largely in the background. Then McElroy wakes up Tuesday to find Monahan has changed his tune and now is in bed with Mickelson, Johnson and Greg Norman.
Imagine how Rory feels today.
I’ll leave it to Wetzel to conclude this piece because he nails the situation.
The PGA Tour took a big bag of money the exact same way commissioner Jay Monahan’s empty bag of righteousness once ripped Mickelson and Brooks Koepka and everyone else for doing.
And how about the 9/11 families, whose pain and purpose have understandably and sympathetically never waned from that awful day? The PGA Tour was happy to see their protests around LIV Golf generate headlines and sympathy, but in the end even they were just props. Pathetic.
The ethics mattered to some people. It mattered a great deal.
It just never really did for the PGA Tour — the pure, pure, ethically minded PGA Tour.
Monahan and the PGA Tour veered off the high road and now are just like every other individual and organization who sells out their principles and values for money.
It’s all so sad and shameful.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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