Will 2022 Become The Year Of Sports Boycotts?

Sports Boycotts

Will 2022 Become The Year Of Sports Boycotts? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com

As sports fans wonder if the United States will boycott the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in China this coming February, there is growing support for the Red, White, and Blue to boycott next year’s World Cup. Scheduled to be held in Qatar, the event is under pressure from soccer fans around the world to be moved since the host nation has a poor record concerning women’s rights and those in the LGBT community. American soccer fans are joining the call for the US Men’s National to boycott the 2022 World Cup if the event is not moved out of Qatar before next fall. With two troubling hosts on the sports calendar, will 2022 become the Year of the Boycotts; and should it?

The awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar has been filled with troubling issues. The country’s history on civil rights was well known ten years ago when FIFA, the world’s governing body over soccer voted to hold their sport’s biggest event there.

From a pure soccer standpoint, because of the desert weather of Qatar, the event was moved to late November, several months later than normal. As to the country’s worthiness of being the host to such an all-inclusive, worldwide event, Qatar’s record on civil rights fueled in no small part by its Muslim majority and state-sponsored Islamic region, has left then behind most of the world on civil rights issues. Those civil rights shortcomings were further highlighted when reports came out about the thousands of workers who perished in the building of stadiums and infrastructure needed for the World Cup.

Just as China, many Americans are hesitant to support a government by sending athletic teams to compete in Qatar. A new survey released this weekend found that 59% of those asked said the United States should boycott the World Cup, with 61% calling for FIFA to relocate the event altogether. FIFA’s credibility has also been called into question in recent years since it came out that bribes were accepted in efforts to help Qatar secure the right to host next year’s World Cup. 

Americans are not alone in their calls to boycott both the Olympics and World Cup next year, with polls across Canada and Europe also strongly in favor of both events being skipped in an effort to draw attention to the biggest issues Qatar has. President Joe Biden was in favor of Major League Baseball moving this year’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta, Georgia over a new voting law. Yet, after first saying there were talks underway to discuss an Olympic boycott, the Biden administration did a U-turn, saying only issues surrounding Covid-19 would force the United States to miss the upcoming Winter Games.

The 180-degree shift came after a warning of a “robust Chinese response” to any American Olympic boycott. While the US Men’s Soccer Team is by no means assured a spot in the event, with Qatar providing nearly one-eighth of the world’s oil and natural gas, you can expect a similar response from this administration when it comes to a boycott of the 2022 World Cup.

With so many athletes being willing to take a knee, wear t-shirts and take to social media for justice and equality, isn’t it fair to say that the people they are fighting for are not just those in their home country? As such, should it not be the soccer players themselves, many of whom joined in the rallies and protests, who be calling upon in the United States and other countries to boycott the Olympic and World Cup to serve a greater purpose?

Just as those who were up in arms over the voting rights laws passed in Georgia and supported the MLB All-Star Game being moved, those who take the pitch should also be calling for Qatar to change their ways in advance of the World Cup, or at least to be willing to take a knee when on foreign soil as many across the globe did for American and world equality. Otherwise, the phrase “All Lives Matter” that became a catchphrase for many pushing back on the Black Lives Matter movement becomes not true. That’s because it proves some people have limits for who they will and won’t fight for once they feel as if they have done enough for their cause, the rest of the problems need to be sorted out by others in that community.

While soccer fans might care about civil rights of people halfway around the world, if those wearing the country’s colors don’t, does it matter what fans think? Just as those who may want to boycott the Winter Games may care about equality in their own community, do they care enough about the civil rights of a billion plus Chinese people to take a stand and boycott their Olympics?

This is the part of what sports had done by throwing themselves into the social change movement, they now must stand up for everyone, not just who best suits them and their businesses. That’s why it should not be up to President Biden to call for a boycott, but the athletes themselves, with the citizens of their countries offering their full support. Because without it, everything that made for great clickbait online and throughout social media is just lip service and means nothing for those who need it. 


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Will 2022 Become The Year Of Sports Boycotts? | TooAthletic.com

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