(FiveNation.com)- After FIFA threatened on-field punishment for players wearing pro-gay armbands during the World Cup, the teams abandoned the anti-discrimination campaign aimed at the host nation Qatar.
The captains of seven European soccer teams chose not to wear the “OneLove” armbands during the games after FIFA, not wanting to rub Qatar’s nose in it, warned that players would be shown yellow cards.
The decision came just three days after the Qatari government pressured FIFA to ban the sale of beer at stadiums and two days after FIFA president Gianni Infantino delivered a bizarre tirade defending the host nation’s human rights record.
While the media has never said no to oodles of Qatari cash in exchange for good PR, Qatar’s treatment of gays and the controversy over the virtue-signaling armbands have caused some in the media to turn on the oil-rich Gulf kingdom.
So when Fox Sports allowed Qatar Airways to sponsor its coverage of the World Cup, the newfound critics of Qatar weren’t amused.
During its coverage, Fox Sports got blasted on Twitter over what its critics claimed was fawning coverage of Qatar, including a segment featuring Fox Sports reporter Jenny Taft praising the beauty of Al Bayt Stadium before Sunday’s opening match.
During the segment, Taft interviewed Hassan al-Thawadi, the Secretary General of the Supreme Committee, describing him as “instrumental in bringing the World Cup to his home country.
It had previously been reported that al-Thawadi allegedly bribed FIFA to secure Qatar the right to host the 2022 World Cup.
Sports reporters expressed outrage that Taft did not use this puff piece to grill Al-Thawadi about Qatar’s human rights record or any of the negative headlines about Qatar before and during the World Cup. Worse still, Taft didn’t even broach the allegations that al-Thawadi bribed FIFA.
You can understand why Fox Sports didn’t have their reporter grill the guy during the segment.
First, it was a puff piece.
Second, Qatar Airways was sponsoring the coverage.
In short, Fox Sports’ hands were tied.