Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tennis Channel Won't Televise Dubai Open

The Tennis Channel is refusing to televise the Barclays Duabi Tennis Championships this weekend to protest the emirate's refusal to grant a visa to Israeli tennis star Shahar Pe'er to allow her to play in the tournament. According to Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO of the network:

"This is an easy decision to come by, based on what is right and wrong. Sports are about merit, absent of background, class, race, creed, color or religion. They are simply about talent. This is a classic case, not about what country did what to another country. If the state of Israel were barring a citizen of an Arab nation, we would have made the same."

It's good to see the Tennis Channel stand up for Pe'er. You can bet that had the roles been reversed and it was Israel that had refused a visa to an Arab tennis player for participation in a tournament in Israel, it would have been front page news around the world. There would have been denunciations coming from world capitals around the world and calls for immediate sessions of the UN Security Council to enforce an economic boycott on Israel for the injustice against humanity. The outcries would have been led by America's staunchest European allies, well, maybe not the UK. What is most interesting here is the deafening silence which with this affair has been greeted outside the sporting world.

Cross-posted with SportsBiz - The Business of Sports Illuminated

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