How will Santa Monica respond?
There have been many changes to our professional surfing since the World Surf League came into existence some seven years ago circa 1976. Artificial wave tanks introduced as stops, a mid-season cut that sends underperforming professionals to the glue factory i.e. Challenger Series, and most important, equality.
Equal pay, equal-ish opportunity except for more than twice as many men, sort of equal chance for men and women to surf the same waves but only when squinting really really hard etc.
So much equality that tennis icon Billie Jean King is said to be aware of this game.
Oh, the WSL brass has been neither timid nor shy in openly advertising itself as governing body of “the most equal sport on earth, ” though, hours ago, those bonafides were shattered by FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
As you certainly know, international soccer is currently hosting its once-every-four-years tournament, the World Cup, in Qatar. The association has been under increasing fire for the decision to award the show to an Islamic country that maybe doesn’t put LGBTQ+ issues front and center, dislikes alcohol and possibly has a giant migrant workforce that toils in slave-like conditions.
Much grumbling amongst liberal elites from America to Europe, Australia back to Europe.
Well, Infantino had enough of the chatter and lit into the duplicity before the first ball dropped.
Per Yahoo! Sports:
Infantino, speaking at his opening press conference of the tournament in Doha, had harsh words for critics of Qatar.
“This moral lesson-giving — one-sided — is just hypocrisy,” said the Swiss.
“I don’t want to give you any lessons of life, but what is going on here is profoundly, profoundly unjust.”
He added: “For what we Europeans have been doing for the last 3,000 years we should apologise for the next 3,000 years before starting giving moral lessons to people.”
Infantino also expressed his support for marginalised communities.
“Today I feel Qatari, today I feel Arab, today I feel African, today I feel gay, today I feel disabled, today I feel a migrant worker,” he said.
Fans of professional surfing immediately turned to World Surf League CEO Erik Logan and his now-apparent shortcomings when it comes to equality. He has never, for instance, uttered “today I feel woman, today I feel Brazilian, today I feel lesbian.” Never gone the extra mile to show true allyship to marginalized groups outside of wearing oversized leis in Tahiti.
There are still a few months before the 2023 season kick-off at the famed Banzai Pipeline.
Time, I hope, to devise a comprehensive equaler equality push.
Global eyes looking at Santa Monica.