The 9/11 group thanks golfers for rejecting the Saudis

A group of nearly 2,500 family members who were killed or injured in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks have written an open letter to PGA Tour members thanking them for remaining loyal to the tour and not joining the rival LIV Golf Invitational Series, funded by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.

In the letter, which was published on Wednesday, the survivors described themselves as the spouses, children, parents and siblings of those who died and were injured in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which killed almost 3,000 people.

“To the many of you who chose to remain loyal to the PGA Tour – and did not jump off the Saudi Arabia-bankrolled LIV Golf Series – we thank you and the sponsors who support you,” the letter reads. “Thank you for standing up for decency. Thank you for standing up for the 9/11 families. Thank you for opposing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to purge its reputation by buying away professional athletes.”

Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11 were Saudis.

More than 20 PGA Tour players, including former majors Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, have signed with LIV Golf and received signing bonuses ranging from as much as $ 100 million to $ 200 million, according to published reports.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan suspended 17 players competing in the first LIV Golf Tournament outside London without a statement being published. The first LIV Golf event in the United States is scheduled to begin June 30 at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon.

“We know that not all of you are millionaires, and that you are competing to win tournaments, fame and glory,” the letter continued. “We appreciate and applaud your spirit, drive and talents, and believe that it is part of what makes competitive sports great.

“Some of your other PGA Tour members have exchanged their dreams of success for easy money – in fact blood money – whether they need these funds or not. They include some of the richest in the field, which justifies their roles in Saudi Arabia. try to wash sports by simply, and astonishingly, looking the other way.They do it randomly when asked the difficult questions or faced with the unpleasant truth: That they are helping one of the world’s worst regimes to print their crimes. “

Other 9/11 survivor groups have accused the players who jumped off to LIV Golf of being complicit in what they have called Saudi Arabia’s sports laundry work.

“I think I speak for pretty much all Americans in that we feel the deepest sympathy and the deepest empathy for those who have lost their loved ones, friends in 9/11,” Mickelson said before last week’s US Open. “It affected us all, and those who have been directly affected, I think I can not stress enough how much empathy I have for them.”

Tuesday’s letter described other human rights violations, including the Saudi monarchy’s alleged involvement in the assassination of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. citizen.

“Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia’s terrorism did not end on 9/11,” the letter said. “The world saw it in 2018 with the cold-blooded assassination of Jamal Khashoggi ordered by the Saudi Crown Prince himself. And we will continue to see it in 2022, as the Saudi government has imprisoned a number of dissidents and journalists, hosting a public execution of 81 people. “slaughtered and bombed Yemenis, and committed countless other crimes against women and minorities.”

Some of the players who have signed with LIV Golf lost long-standing sponsors after leaving. KPMG, Workday and Amstel Light terminated their agreements with Mickelson. Callaway, his longtime equipment sponsor, stopped the relationship with him. The Royal Bank of Canada ended its business dealings with Johnson and Graeme McDowell, and Rocket Mortgage ended its sponsorship of DeChambeau.

“To those of you who have chosen what is right over blood money from a corrupt, destructive sports unit and its Saudi supporters, continue to stand strong,” the letter said. “You inspire hope and conviction that our long journey to accountability and justice is within reach. We greatly appreciate your integrity and your willingness to stand up for principles.

“We will never forget. Thank you for reminding all Americans and people in the world that we should never forget. Thank you for doing what is right.”