Piers Morgan and Bob Costas

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup controversially taking place in Qatar, a country known for human rights abuses, protests have provided a backdrop for the event.

But according to Piers Morgan, many of those protests are just virtue signaling considering the flaws that every country has. That prompted the Fox Nation host to ask Bob Costas whether any nation is worthy of hosting a global sporting event.

“Every nation has flaws and problems and issues and things that they need to correct, and shame in their past, and maybe in some cases in an ongoing way,” Costas admitted on Piers Morgan Uncensored. “But then there are nations in the here and now…that are fundamental human rights abusers. Qatar is one of those, China is certainly one of those, Putin’s Russia is one of those, and these athletes will never have a platform that will draw as many eyes and make as large an impact as they do at an Olympics or at a World Cup.”

Costas noted the irony of FIFA and the IOC requesting that athletes keep politics out of these global events, despite the fact that they’re the ones who make politics a focal point by placing athletes from all over the world into controversial locations.

“Once you start putting the moral halo on about human rights, I’m not sure you can end up with many places in the world which are clean enough to actually host a World Cup,” said Morgan. “If you continue down the road of putting a halo on and deciding who is fit to host these things, I think you’ve got to be consistent and accept that every county, including America, including Britain…that we all have pretty big abuses, which would be quite hard to defend.”

“There are matters of degree,” Costas argued. “Qatar, Putin’s Russia, Beijing, they are fundamental human rights abusers. It’s definitive about them, rather than flaws that the nations we’re talking about…it’s within the American Constitution to address these inequities and injustices. Whereas it is the policy of the governments of Qatar and China and Putin’s Russia to oppress people.”

Costas said that when he hosted the Olympics, he always asked the IOC about their apparent affinity for selecting authoritarian nations to host the Games.

“The answer always was, ‘we feel that by holding an Olympics anywhere, it helps to spread the Olympic ideals of equality and diversity and democracy, it helps to spread those ideals,'” Costas explained.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has made similar claims when defending the league’s relationship with China.

“I do think it remains important, that particularly when tensions are high between governments, that we foster these sports, educational, cultural relationships,” Silver said last year of the NBA’s relationship with China despite their human rights abuses.

To that defense, which is often cited by the NBA, FIFA and the IOC, Costas would ask, “How’s that working out with China? How’s that working out with Putin’s Russia? And we’ll see if there are any reforms in Qatar or Iran. I tend to doubt it.”

[Piers Morgan Uncensored]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to bcontes@thecomeback.com