Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What the WTA is going to do

Well give WTA officials some credit. They are seriously talking about taking the Barclay's Dubai Championships off the tournament schedule because of the recent controversy over the visa denied to Israeli player Shahar Peer.
Unfortunately, the reason given by WTA head Larry Scott is because the actions of the united Arab Emirates goes against the principle that sports and politics should not mix. Ironic given that pulling WTA support for the tournament will be a political act by a sports organization.
Peer herself is espousing the "party line":
I think a red line has been crossed here that could harm the purity of the sport and other sports. I have always believed that politics and sports should not be mixed.”
This kind of reasoning is why athletes are so unlikely to take a stand against an act like this. This is why no player would dream of supporting Peer by, say, withdrawing from the tournament. Peer is lucky this time that the WTA is on her side. But if it wasn't, she would be on her own--no organizational support, no peer (pun slightly intended) support.
Support is also coming from media outlets. The Tennis Channel has opted not to broadcast the tournament this weekend. But it's also sticking to the no politics in sports line.

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