9/11 group thanks golfers for rejecting Saudis

9/11 group thanks golfers for rejecting Saudis

A group of nearly 2,500 survivors of family members who were killed or injured in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 wrote an open letter to members of the PGA Tour to thank them for remaining loyal to the tour and not joining the rival LIV Golf Invitational Series . , which is being funded by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.

In the letter, which was released Wednesday, the survivors described themselves as the spouses, children, parents and siblings of those who were killed and injured in the 9/11 terror attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

“To those many of you who chose to remain loyal to the PGA Tour, and did not defect to the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Series, we thank you and the sponsors who support you,” the letter said. “Thank you for standing up for decency. Thank you for standing up for 9/11 families. Thank you for resisting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to cleanse its reputation by buying professional athletes.”

Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis.

More than 20 PGA Tour players, including former major champions Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, have signed with LIV Golf and received signing bonuses of between $100 million and $200 million, according to published reports.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has suspended 17 players who competed in LIV Golf’s inaugural tournament outside London without a conflicting event statement. LIV Golf’s first event in the United States is scheduled to kick off on June 30 at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon.

“We know that not all of you are millionaires and that you compete to win tournaments, fame and glory,” the letter continued. “We appreciate and applaud his spirit, drive and talent, and we believe all of that is part of what makes competitive sports great.

“Some of his fellow PGA Tour members have traded their dreams of hard-earned success for easy money, in fact, tainted money, whether they need those funds or not. They include some of the wealthiest in the field, justifying their roles in Saudi Arabia.Saudi efforts to launder sport simply and surprisingly look the other way.They do so casually when asked tough questions or faced with the uncomfortable truth: that they are helping one of the worst regimes in the world. to hide their crimes.

Other 9/11 survivor groups have accused players who defected to LIV Golf of being complicit in what they have called Saudi Arabia’s sports laundering efforts.

“I think I speak for just about every American in the sense that we have the deepest sympathy and the deepest empathy for those who have lost loved ones, friends on 9/11,” Mickelson said before the week’s US Open. pass. “It affected all of us, and those who have been directly affected, I think I cannot stress enough the empathy I have for them.”

Tuesday’s letter detailed other human rights violations, including the Saudi monarchy’s alleged involvement in the murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, an American citizen.

“Unfortunately, Saudi terrorism did not end with 9/11,” the letter said. “The world saw that in 2018 with the cold-blooded murder of Jamal Khashoggi ordered by the Saudi Crown Prince himself. And we continue to see it in 2022, when the Saudi government has jailed dozens of dissidents and journalists, staged a public execution of 81 people , massacred and bombed Yemenis and committed countless other crimes against women and minorities.”

Some of the players who signed with LIV Golf lost long-time sponsors after defecting. KPMG, Workday and Amstel Light terminated their agreements with Mickelson. Callaway, his longtime team sponsor, stopped his relationship with him. The Royal Bank of Canada severed its business relationships with Johnson and Graeme McDowell, and Rocket Mortgage ended its sponsorship of DeChambeau.

“To those of you who have chosen the right thing about blood money from a corrupt and destructive sports entity and its Saudi sponsors, please continue to stand firm,” the letter said. “You inspire hope and conviction that our long journey to accountability and justice is within reach. We deeply value your integrity and your willingness to uphold your principles.

“We will never forget. Thank you for reminding all Americans and people around the world that we must never forget. Thank you for doing the right thing.”

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