Saturday, June 10, 2023

All the News That's Print to Cause a Fit




I thought that today I’d find a big story in the news to write about, one that seems so unimaginable you couldn’t seriously think of getting it by your editor as a realistic subject for a work of fiction. But being the brave soul that I am, I decided to soldier on and come up with one. 


Trouble is, I didn’t find one.  I found a half-dozen.   Now I’m left to choose among a plethora of riches…and that’s just from this week’s news headlines.


We’ve got an ex- and maybe next- US President indicted on potential espionage charges; raging forest fires in Canada blanketing New York City and much of the North American eastern seaboard in smoke-filled, choke-inducing skies reminiscent of 9/11; the brutal, no bounds tactics and terror of the Ukraine War; continued genocidal horrors in Sudan;  and an English Prince of the Realm battling the British tabloids in open court over targeting him and his family with undesired attention.


But another subject caught my eye.  A peace treaty reached between two vigorously acrimonious combatants for the hearts, souls, and cash of billions of faithful followers.  Yes, the announced merger of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) and Saudi Arabia funded LIV Golf.


Though details are yet to be worked out, let’s just say it is a step toward changing the world of sports as we know it.  Here’s what National Public Radio (NPR) has to say on the subject.

For a different perspective, here’s a bit of the opinion of The New York Times sports columnist, Kurt Streeter on the merger.

The merger is about sports, yes, but also about power and values in the world…

This is as disruptive a move as the sports world has seen in a long while — arguably, ever… But at the time, those moves did not affect global sport, nor provide cover to oppressive nations.

This makes those mergers look like tiddlywinks.

Get used to a world in which the Middle East, with its many authoritarian governments, is a dominant player in sports…


The Saudis are hardly done: They’re bidding for soccer’s 2030 World Cup and using their wealth to attract expensive talent to their national league…


“We are interested in all sports,” [the governor of the sovereign investment fund behind Saudi efforts] said in a television interview on Tuesday. Not just golf. Not just soccer or basketball. But “many other sports,” he said.


It’s not hard to imagine the Saudis further engaging the N.B.A., offering billions to purchase N.F.L. teams or even financing the sponsorship of college athletes. Nor is it hard to imagine the L.P.G.A. Tour coming into the fold….




In other words, money talks morals walk. 


But there’s a surprise waiting out there.  And I’m not talking about The Kingdom’s proven efforts to undermine the EU and the US with calculated, punitive hardball manipulation of oil production.

I’m talking about a rule of law about to come into play. I’ve heard it mentioned, but not yet focused upon, though I’m guessing it soon will be front and center.  You see, among the many charges and countercharges raised in the battling PGA-LIV lawsuits, is the claim that the PGA represents an unlawful monopoly over the sport of golf.


Apparently, now that the two have decided to merge the monopoly has mysteriously evaporated.


Uhh, uhh, it doesn’t work that way.  It’s going to be very interesting to see how that card is played—by dissident players and, more importantly, the US Justice Department’s and European Union’s respective anti-trust professionals.


And that, folks, is the story I chose to write about this week. The true-life tale of unimaginable wealth seeking to “sportswash” away its sins, and how the West will react to the challenge. 

As a kicker, just imagine what that sort of wealth will do once it has its cash-clad hands at the controls of Artificial Intelligence.


I have. Coming in February.




  1. I wondered about the monopoly issue. Well, we shall see.

  2. The implications and potential secret deals on any number of fronts will fuel conspiracy theorists for decades...if not generations.

    1. That anonymous reply is moi, Jeff

  3. Sports only succeed as a money game because people pay ridiculous amounts to watch them. C'est la vie.

    And, instead of "We’ve got an ex- and maybe next- US President...", don't you mean "We’ve got an ex- and maybe last- US President..."??? As, if he somehow managed to re-attain the White House, I'm sure he (and the GOP) will have learned many lessons from his first (mostly failed) attempt, and there'll be no more elections that are anywhere close to free and fair.

  4. I missed the beginning and for a moment thought you were writing post-apocalyptic fiction which it might work as...