At a hearing held before the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Quincy Institute Research Fellow Ben Freeman provided pre-written testimony and answered questions from senators relating to Saudi Arabia and its Public Investment Fund’s dealings in the United States, particularly the recent merger between the PGA Tour and Saudi LIV Golf.
“They want to muzzle Americans critical of the regime. And, they want to rebrand themselves. They want Americans to associate Saudi Arabia with golf rather than the brutal murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi”, Freeman stated, speaking to the practice that has come to be known as ‘sportswashing’.
Freeman went on to explain the greater implications of Saudi sportswashing, asserting that “if the U.S. once again offers little resistance or oversight of an authoritarian regime’s sportswashing efforts, this could become a blueprint for how to garner influence in the U.S., and open the floodgates for even more foreign domination of American sports as a tool for broader foreign influence over our government, our media, and the American public.”
Below is a downloadable transcript of Freeman’s testimony, as well as a full recording of the hearing.