In an act of extreme virtue signaling, an American sports reporter chronicled his moments of inconvenience when he encountered a Qatari security guard who refused him entry at the World Cup because of his rainbow t-shirt.
Grant Wahl of CBS and formerly of Sports Illustrated, looked to be making himself the story as he showed up at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar to watch Team USA take on Wales, wasting no time to fire off a tweet at the first sign of pushback for his attire in the country where homosexuality is criminalized.
As he described it, he hastily took a selfie before having his phone confiscated and wrote, “Just now: Security guard refusing to let me into the stadium for USA-Wales. ‘You have to change your shirt. It’s not allowed.'”
Just now: Security guard refusing to let me into the stadium for USA-Wales. “You have to change your shirt. It’s not allowed.” pic.twitter.com/TvSGThMYq8
— Subscribe to GrantWahl.com (@GrantWahl) November 21, 2022
It is unclear whether the image deliberately left out any other messaging or symbolism that Wahl may have been displaying aside from the rainbow colors encircling a soccer ball, but it was blatant that the sports reporter had endeavored to paint himself as both a victim and a hero of social justice as later on, he posted, “I’m OK, but that was an unnecessary ordeal. Am in the media center, still wearing my shirt. Was detained for nearly half an hour. Go gays.”
In his substack, Wahl went into marginally more detail as he explained that he had stopped New York Times reporter Andrew Das to detail what was happening who was then “detained” as well before being allowed to proceed ahead of Wahl.
“You can make this easy,” a guard supposedly told Wahl as he was seated in a chair. “Take off your shirt.”
The reporter wrote, “I told him no.”
After an expressed apology for a “security commander,” Wahl explained, “One of the security guards told me they were just trying to protect me from fans inside who could harm me for wearing the shirt. (A FIFA rep later apologized to me as well.)”
Reacting to Wahl’s story, Dr. Nayef bin Nahar, a native academic posted his reaction and said, “As a Qatari I’m proud of what happened. I don’t know when will the westerners realize that their values aren’t universal. There are other cultures with different values that should be equally respected. Let’s not forget that the West is not the spokesperson for humanity.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Rapid Response Director Christina Pushaw followed up bin Nahar’s reaction with a reply of her own, “As an American, my values are different from your values… but the thing is, I do not travel to your country and expect your people to change and conform to my values. I don’t see why this is so hard for American liberals to understand.”
She further added, “The religion and laws of Qatar were not a secret to anyone prior to this event, and this man knew what to expect when he made his decision to visit Qatar. If he wanted to make a point about LGBT rights, he could have boycotted, but that wouldn’t have gotten as much attention.”
Others weighed in similarly.
I spent 26 years in the Navy and have been lucky enough to see much of the world. Rule #1 is you follow the customs and traditions of the country your visiting. You don’t have to agree but you do have to abide. If you don’t like it then don’t go. You knew this was a thing.
— Kevin Flatley (@rusty731) November 21, 2022
It’s impossible that he didn’t know it would cause issues. But he did it anyway for the tweets.
— baran kayhan (@barankayhan) November 21, 2022
I don’t agree with their views or religious beliefs, but you can’t go round acting like the rules don’t apply to you. Their country, their laws. No matter how much you disagree, you cant go acting like you’re an exception
— Northern GOONER (@Shakytucker) November 21, 2022
Wahl’s display wasn’t the only rainbow that drew controversy as players had expressed their desire to wear “OneLove” armbands to show solidarity with the LGBT community that featured a rainbow of colors in a heart.
FIFA prohibited wearing the armbands at the World Cup after it was revealed that rather than merely having to pay fines, players faced sporting sanctions and potential arrests for the displays.
Breaking: England and Wales won’t wear One Love armbands
“we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.” pic.twitter.com/6ySojM4Jas
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) November 21, 2022
Much like showy displays of walking off the field of play or taking a knee during the national anthem, the social justice warriors in sports and entertainment take only the actions that garner attention without hurting their bottom line and so, instead of a meaningful protest, play carried on.
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