Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Misplaced punishment

Shahar Peer, to the best of my knowledge, was not consulted when Israel launched a recent crackdown on Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, but she’s paying a price for that action by her government. The 21-year-old Israeli tennis player, shown above, was denied a visa to participate in the Dubai Tennis Championships, solely because of her country of origin. Organizers of the Dubai event first suggested that security issues were behind the decision to bar Peer. Now they’re saying it’s because fans would boycott the tournament if Peer were allowed to play. Whatever the explanation, it’s still blatant discrimination. It reminded me of the days when the officials at Augusta National kept changing the requirements for players to qualify for the Masters in an attempt to keep black players off the course. Larry Scott, chairman of the WTA Tour, says the organization will be considering its response, which could include dropping Dubai from the tournament schedule next year. Said Scott, “Sports and politics should not mix, and the fundamental principles upon which the … WTA Tour are founded include open and fair competition to all, regardless of nationality, creed, race, religion, etc.” If it had any backbone, the WTA would have immediately canceled the event unless Peer was reinstated. The other players, if they had any integrity, should have refused to play without her. Tiger Woods has significant business interests in Dubai and carries considerable clout. Perhaps he will take a stand. Nah. There’s money to be made in Dubai. And money almost always trumps doing the right thing.



Blogger Ellipses said...

She kinda looks like Pam from the office...

The fact that Arabs might boycott a FREAKIN' TENNIS TOURNAMENT over an Israeli participant just shows that, on average, the rest of the world can be as dumb as southern baptists who boycott mickey mouse over benefits extending to gay partners...

Sigh... Tennis is big in florida... florida is big in the Jewish community... I don't even need 6 degrees of separation here.

February 18, 2009 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Update: Kudos to Andy Roddick, who has pulled out of this week's men's event in Dubai to protest the treatment of Peer. His momma and daddy raised him right.

February 23, 2009 at 3:39 PM  

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