If we’re going to criticize golfers for taking Saudi money and acting as tools for sportswashing, it seems fair to also call out the companies getting paid to promote LIV Golf.
“I couldn’t help but notice the LIV Golf spot that was played in our last break,” Giannotti said to co-host Boomer Esiason. “It’s just awkward to ignore it, so I had to mention it. Because if we’re talking about all these golfers taking the money and we’re talking about the PGA Tour sponsors taking the money, then we have to at least be fair and mention how, I guess we took the money as well.”
Gregg Giannotti calls out awkwardness of WFAN airing a promo for LIV Golf pic.twitter.com/ezJNPKKbFG
— Brandon Contes (@BrandonContes) July 11, 2022
And that money can be traced to the Saudi government which funds LIV Golf. The same Saudi government that was complicit in the Sept. 11 attacks, has deplorable human rights issues, and generates billions of dollars from oil and slave labor.
While Giannotti and Esiason certainly have no say over the ads sold by WFAN or Audacy, the station’s hosts could be deemed hypocritical if they criticize LIV golfers while their employer is similarly profiting off the Saudi government, albeit on a much smaller scale.
“So we took the blood money,” Esiason added of Audacy and WFAN as both hosts noted they were unaware that LIV Golf promos were now part of WFAN’s ad catalog. “Trump Bedminster took the blood money, Trump Doral took the blood money too.”
Because Audacy and WFAN play different commercials on their stream than they do over the terrestrial airwaves, you needed to be listening live on the radio to hear the ad Giannotti was referring to. I was listening to the stream so I did not hear the ad, but it’s logical to assume it was promoting the LIV Golf event teeing off in New Jersey later this month.
“I would imagine there’s gonna be a lot of protests over there in New Jersey,” Esiason said, referring to the upcoming LIV Golf Invitational at Trump Bedminster. “The 9/11 families – if Dustin Johnson’s making a $125 million and Bryson DeChambeau is bragging that he’s making more money than has been reported and Phil Mickelson’s making $200 million and we have a Saudi government that had their hand involved in 9/11, and you have all these families that have been suing the Saudi government and got nothing.”
“I’ve talked to a lot of people about this, most people would take the money if they were the players,” Esiason added. “But it’s sportswashing, is what it is. And we all know what it is.”
LIV Golf has struggled to land a TV rights deal in the United States, but if media companies are already promoting the Saudi-backed league, it signals that there may be a network willing to similarly ignore potential social backlash in favor of financial gain.