On Tuesday morning, the sports world was hit with quite a shock when news broke that the PGA Tour and Saudi-backed LIV Golf were merging. The announcement led to backlash from all corners of the country, but few were more disappointed than the families of those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
9/11 Families United – a group of families of Sept. 11 victims – has long spoken out against LIV Golf due to its backing from Saudi Arabia, given the country’s human rights violations and ties to terrorism.
Just hours after the merger was announced, the group released a statement expressing their anger with the decision.
“PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan co-opted the 9/11 community last year in the PGA’s unequivocal agreement that the Saudi LIV project was nothing more than sportswashing of Saudi Arabia’s reputation. But now the PGA and Monahan appear to have become just more paid Saudi shills, taking billions of dollars to cleanse the Saudi reputation so that Americans and the world will forget how the Kingdom spent their billions of dollars before 9/11 to fund terrorism, spread their vitriolic hatred of Americans, and finance al Qaeda and the murder of our loved ones. Make no mistake – we will never forget,” the statement read.
“Mr. Monahan talked last summer about knowing people who lost loved ones on 9/11, then wondered aloud on national television whether LIV Golfers ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour. They do now – as does he. PGA Tour leaders should be ashamed of their hypocrisy and greed. Our entire 9/11 community has been betrayed by Commissioner Monahan and the PGA as it appears their concern for our loved ones was merely window-dressing in their quest for money – it was never to honor the great game of golf.”
They’re certainly strong words, and they underscore the complexity of this entire situation.