Just a hypothetical, imagined scenario based on real-life pandering and apologising for sportswashing and ridiculous decisions…
Is it ever possible to clearly define sportswashing? Which countries should be endorsed with sporting events and which not? You could probably discuss a lot of arguments on that but nevertheless I think this particular scenario clearly helps to define some of those limits. I made up/exaggerated some of the following scenario but too much was too close to the truth, and some of it became uncomfortably-true after writing it…
“Well, coming into this weekend there’s been a lot of talk of human rights, whether we should be racing here in the first place, with some drivers speaking up about it, and after Friday’s execution I think it’s safe to say that those fears were probably well-founded. What do you think, should we be racing here?”
“Yeah…I think many of us were worried about the layout of the track itself, with these concrete barriers and blind corners, there are some background issues which is the case at some other places that we go to. But look, the drivers love coming here, the track is exciting, there’s always drama here. Turns 3 and 4 have been re-profiled following the missile attack during the off-season, the track surface is bumpy, this place has history and character! As fans of the sport that’s what we want to see. Nowhere is perfect and I think overall it’s a great venue.”
“Earlier on we brought you news of the fatal accident in this morning’s session, there’s been a lot of discussion following that, even some talk of boycotting the race. Although I should emphasise that the event organisers have been clear: they do not think the track itself was a significant contributing factor in this incident.”
“Now in case you were wondering about the cloud of smoke in the background, we can confirm that there has been a (very) nearby drone attack on an oil thingy…but that this should pose no risk to human life nor the event itself and we are ready to proceed with the race this evening.”
“We race as one, safety comes first, we can help to spread the values of our sport, we can change repressive regimes ourselves through the power of F1 and oil money, we race as one, safety comes first, we race as one, safety comes first, we race as one, safety comes first…”
At first I wasn’t going to post this because I just thought— well, by watching F1 of course I’m going to encounter hypocrisies, what did I expect? I was just going to quietly stop watching it forever. But then I saw this news article and I just thought…wow…the sheer level of cognitive dissonance and moneyspeak to have arrived at this point was one thing, but this chilling paragraph is something else.