9/11 Families Outraged at American Golfers’ “Sports Washing” of Saudi Arabia

Tyler Strada of 9/11 Families United composed a letter addressed to Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Kevin Na asking them to rethink their participation in the LIV Golf Tour with the consideration of Saudi’s role in some of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil.

Full Text of the Letter:

Dear Messrs. Mickelson, Johnson, DeChambeau, Reed, and Na:

My name is Terry Strada, and I write to you as a September 11 widow and the mother of three children who were seven, four, and four days old when their father was brutally murdered along with nearly 3,000 other men, women, and children. At the same time, hundreds more suffered horrible, lofngstanding injuries. Our community wishes to express our outrage at your partnership with LIV Golf and remind you of the responsibility that your new business partner, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, shoulders for providing the financial support and logistical support that enabled the terrorists to attack our nation and kill our loved ones.

As a freedom-loving American, I am grateful to have the freedom of choice where I work and who I work for, and I respect your right as well.  As a 9/11 widow, I feel compelled to help you understand the level of depravity the Kingdom engaged in when it knowingly sent government agents here to establish the support network needed for those hijackers.

As you may know, Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudis.  It was the Saudis who cultivated and spread the evil, hate-filled Islamist ideology that inspired the violent jihadists to carry out the deadly 9/11 attacks.  And, most egregiously, it is the Kingdom that has spent 20 years in denial: lying about their activities, and cowardly dodging the responsibility they bear.  Yet these are your partners, and much to our disappointment, you appear pleased to be in business with them.

Given Saudi Arabia’s role in the death of our loved ones and those injured on 9/11—your fellow Americans—we are angered that you are so willing to help the Saudis cover up this history in their request for “respectability.”  When you partner with the Saudis, you become complicit with their whitewash, and help give them the reputational cover they so desperately crave—and are willing to pay handsomely to manufacture. The Saudis do not care about the deep-rooted sportsmanship of golf or its origins as a gentleman’s game built upon core values of mutual respect and personal integrity.  They care about using professional golf to whitewash their reputation, and they are paying you to help them do it.

Please, do not insult our loved one’s memories and take the pathetic position, as one of your foreign colleagues did last week, claiming you are “just golfers playing a game” or blandly treating the evils of the Saudi regime as “human rights” concerns.  You are all Americans, keenly aware of the death and destruction of September 11.  Whether it was the appeal of millions of dollars of hard cash, or just the opportunity to prosecute your professional grievances with the PGA, you have sold us out.  This is a betrayal not only of us, but of all your countrymen. 

While we have no rooting interest in the fight between millionaire golfers over how international golf competitions are managed, we do care about the United States and who represents our country.  We understand that some of you are hopeful that rule changes will be implemented to allow you to again represent America in the Ryder Cup, despite your betrayal of American interests in joining the Saudi “sports wash.”  It is absurd for any American who chooses Saudi oil money over the September 11 community to think that these exceptions should be made, and we will be sure to say so publicly should you pursue that path under the misguided notion that your betrayal will go unnoticed.

Please rethink your membership in this Saudi enterprise. Perhaps you were unaware of the Saudi role in September 11. Or if you were, perhaps you thought nobody would care, nearly 21 years later.  Either way, you were mistaken.  We noticed, we care, and we urge you to reconsider so that you can stand with us and send a message to the Kingdom; you cannot buy respect, you must earn it.

Sincerely,

Terry Strada

National Chair

9/11 Families United

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9/11 Families United is an organization of family members of those murdered in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as well as many of those who survived, were injured in, or sickened from the attacks—a community of more than 10,000 people.  More background and contact information can be found at www.911familiesunited.org.

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