World – Whether we like it or not, sports play a huge role in the lives of many people. It is something, no matter which sport, that touches the hearts of billions of people. It also influences the way people think, and at times, how they carry themselves. However loveable sports may be, it carries one dark secret with it, the hypocrisy it is mired in.
Twelve years ago, one of the greatest World Cups to ever occur took place in our colourful country. It was also in that year Qatar was selected to host the 2022 World Cup. At the time, the country was not remotely ready for the World Cup. So unprepared in infrastructure necessary to host such an event, seven new stadiums needed to be built, a new airport, a new metro system, a new series of roads and around 100 new hotels. In fact, a new city was built around the stadium which will host the final match. However, none of this mattered to anyone. Controversies might exist as to why they were suggested to begin with.
In the previous 12 years the only thing that didn’t change was the laws of the country. As the World Cup draws closer, we see fans, players and countries protesting the laws of the country. Not a peep regarding Qatar’s laws prior to this year but suddenly, these laws are deemed too strict. We have often been told to respect the rights of Denmark, France and Netherlands to ban the hijab. However, these countries and its citizens suddenly feel the laws of Qatar should not be respected.
Denmark and Hummel’s hypocrisy
Denmark kit manufacturer, Hummel, has decided to camouflage the badges of the national team and their own logo. This comes as the company doesn’t “wish to be visible during a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives”. The Supreme Committee, who are organising the World Cup, have disputed Hummel’s claims that the tournament has cost the lives of anyone. They remain firm on their stance that migrant workers were protected, and the numbers are severely exaggerated by Hummel.
Speaking to The Athletic, Hummel owner Chistian Stadil, confirmed that while these lives were at stake, they were supplying shirts to a Qatari club. Profiting from Qatar during this time. Stadil was also asked if the company will be profiting from the shirt. Unsurprisingly, Hummel has chosen to reap the profits from the Denmark kit for themselves. Giving only 1% of “their revenue from all online sales to Amnesty, which included the Denmark kit”. They will, however, donate all profits from another kit created with Amnesty International, to the organisation. A kit that nobody knows about and frankly, will not generate as much money as the Denmark World Cup kits. It is just another way of virtue signalling. Making a statement and collecting on the profits. It is nothing more than an advertising technique that has stood the test of time.
FIFA and UEFA – Politics isn’t allowed in sports until it is
FIFA and its European offshoot UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) have been known for their hard-line stance on displaying political emblems and banners. In 2014 Celtic was fined £16,000 for a flag display at a Murrayfield Champions League qualifier against KR Reykjavik. That was followed up by a £8,619 fine in September this year for displaying hundreds of Palestinian flags against Israeli team Hapoel Be’er Sheva.
Barcelona was also fined in 2015 for displaying the Catalan flag in the Champions League final against Juventus. It seems pretty clear the stance UEFA and FIFA have taken. However, it seems this didn’t pertain to Ukraine. During the Champions League last 16 match between Bayern and FC Salzburg, Ukraine flags were on each corner flag. Ukrainian flags could be seen waving in the stands, but no fines or punishments were handed out. There was no noise made about players walking out draped in the Ukraine flag. Politics seem to only exist in football when it favours the Western world.
Hypocrisy of football fans
Hypocrisy doesn’t just exist within the footballing organisations but also the fans. Manchester City defender, Benjamin Mendy, was arrested on multiple charges of rape. He was rightfully condemned by the media and footballing fans. Manchester City also suspended him following the charges. Mason Greenwod, Manchester United forward, stands accused of rape and assault. He remains under police investigation following his arrest on January 30. Although both of these players have not been found guilty as yet, they have essentially been written off by fans and their respective clubs have distanced themselves from them.
However, in the case of Arsenal’s midfielder, Thomas Partey, we see a different scenario play out. According to the report from Pulse Sports, a woman identified as @deffonotchaur on Twitter shared her experience and called out the footballer on allegations of attempted rape. There is video evidence of the text exchange between the two, where Partey seemingly acknowledges his actions. Knowing all of this, Arsenal continued to play Partey. Instead of being ostracised like the others, the club has granted him immunity. Arsenal fans were disgusted he was named in the starting lineup for the first Premier League game. However, after a few good performances, it seems all has been forgiven by the supporters. There seems to be no accountability for footballers simply because of a few good games. The case itself was thrown out of court due to a technicality.
Hypocrisy has existed for a long time, it is nothing new
One of sport’s biggest hypocrisies is centred around Hitler, believe it or not. However, it is strange to learn he isn’t the hypocrite behind it all. Hitler planned to use the 1936 Olympics to show the world how superior his “Aryan race” was. What he was not counting on was American track star, Jesse Owens, to show up and win four gold medals. Owens’ dominance dominated the headlines, his side story of how Hitler treated him showed the hypocrisy of Americans.
After the first day concluded, Hitler shook the hands of all the German winners. The head of the Olympic Games told him he either had to shake the hands of all the winners or none of them. He chose the latter. Americans were rightfully furious at this and this mistreatment at the hands of Hitler was on every front page. When asked about it, Owen’s words were very telling, saying, ““I wasn’t invited to shake hands with Hitler. But I wasn’t invited to the White House to shake hands with the President either”. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in true hypocrisy, never acknowledged the American hero for his accomplishments as he did with the white athletes. No American who was upset about the Hitler incident showed any care for this. It was and still is, one of the biggest hypocrisies in sports.
The NFL turning its gaze away from women abuse
The National Football League is arguably one of the biggest sporting events in America. As such, it needs to handle every decision it makes with caution knowing that all American eyes are on them. For a long time, the NFL have always championed themselves as protectors of women and their rights. This is far from the truth.
Last year, Houston Texas benched, and still paid their star quarterback, Deshaun Watson all season, after 22 women accused him of sexual assault and harassment. Although a grand jury declined to indict him, the Texans traded him to the Cleveland Browns who awarded him a five-year $230 million guaranteed contract. It was reported that 13 different teams wanted to sign him even though they knew of his case. All because Watson is a star quarterback. The NFL suspended him for six games.
The NFL is a broken system. Constantly believing they are a champion for women, many great NFL stars are sitting with domestic violence cases while nothing has happened to their careers. Watson’s case and theirs proves one thing, if you are great, you are untouchable.
One thing is clear in the world of sports. It matters only who you know or how great you are for you to get away with anything and everything. The famous and rich get away free while those who don’t share the same status are condemned and rightfully so. In order for us to better the sporting world one thing needs to be agreed upon, everyone needs to be treated equally and fairly. Regardless of their status. Hypocrisy in sports seems to be only growing as time goes on. A dangerous precedent is being set and if we don’t act fast enough, there is no telling how much worse it can get.