A group of nearly 2,500 survivors of family members killed or injured in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks have written an open letter to PGA Tour members thanking them for sticking with the tour and not joining the rival LIV Golf Invitational Series. , which is financed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
In the letter, which was released on Wednesday, the survivors describe themselves as the spouses, children, parents and siblings of those who died and were injured in the September 11 terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
“To those of you who have chosen to remain loyal to the PGA Tour – and who have not defected to the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Series – we thank you and the sponsors who support you,” we read in the letter. “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 clean up 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 grand champions Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, have signed with LIV Golf and received signing bonuses ranging from $100 million to $200 million, according to published reports .
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has suspended 17 players who played in the first LIV golf tournament outside of London without posting a conflicting event. The first LIV Golf event in the United States is set to begin on June 30 at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon.
“We know that not all of you are millionaires and are vying for tournament wins, fame and glory,” the letter continued. “We appreciate and applaud your spirit, your drive and your talents, and we believe this is part of what makes competitive sports great.
“Some of your fellow PGA Tour members have traded their dreams of success for easy money – in fact, blood money – whether they need those funds or not. They include some of the wealthiest in the world. domain, which justify their role in Saudi Arabia. Saudi efforts to wash the sport away simply and amazingly by looking away. They do so casually when asked the tough questions or confronted with the uncomfortable truth: that are helping one of the worst regimes in the world to cover up its crimes.
Other 9/11 survivor groups have accused the players who defected to LIV Golf of being complicit in what they called Saudi Arabia’s sportwashing efforts.
“I think I speak for almost all Americans in that we feel the deepest sympathy and deepest empathy for those who lost loved ones, friends in 9/11,” Mickelson said before the interview. ‘US Open last week. “It has affected all of us, and those who have been directly affected, I think I can’t overemphasize the empathy I have for them.”
Tuesday’s letter details other human rights abuses, including the Saudi monarchy’s alleged involvement in the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a US citizen.
“Unfortunately, Saudi terrorism did not end with 9/11,” the letter read. “The world saw this 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, as the Saudi government imprisoned 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 have terminated their agreements with Mickelson. Callaway, his long-time equipment sponsor, has terminated its relationship with him. The Royal Bank of Canada ended its business relationship with Johnson and Graeme McDowell, and Rocket Mortgage ended its sponsorship of DeChambeau.
“To those of you who have chosen what is right over the blood money of a corrupt and destructive sports entity and its Saudi backers, please continue to stand strong,” the letter read. “You inspire hope and belief that our long journey towards accountability and justice is within reach. We deeply appreciate your integrity and your willingness to uphold principle.
“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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