Telemundo Deportes deserve credit for taking the moral high ground and speaking the truth about World Cup 2022..
To be specific, Telemundo Deportes President Ray Warren has said, on the record, that the network is not going to shy away from discussing off the field matters during its coverage of Qatar 2022.
And his network followed through on their promise in the opening of the 2022 World Cup (see clip below):
That’s the opposite of what FOX Sports are doing. Not coincidentally, FOX’s World Cup coverage is sponsored by the state of Qatar.
So, what’s the problem with Qatar?
There are too many concerns about Qatar hosting the World Cup to list them all here. But namely, more than 6,500 migrant workers have died since the World Cup was awarded to Qatar. The deaths are a result of the massive construction project that Qatar undertook to build the infrastructure to host World Cup 2022.
On top of that are the lack of freedoms in Qatar. It’s a country where same-sex marriages are illegal. And homosexuals have been physically abused, and threatened with torture if they didn’t report other gays.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg of a myriad of reasons why Qatar should not be hosting the World Cup.
Telemundo: On the record
In the United States, both Telemundo Deportes and FOX Sports have the exclusive rights to broadcast World Cup 2022. Telemundo handles the Spanish-language broadcasts, while FOX Sports have the rights to the English-language telecasts.
So what have executives from Telemundo Deportes said about covering the off-the-field incidents in the lead-up to the World Cup?
In November 2021, I asked Telemundo Deportes President Ray Warren directly how the network planned on covering the topic.
His reply was less than convincing.
“We’re not a news organization, we’re a sports organization,” said Warren. “We go wherever the World Cup is played.”
In the days after those words, Telemundo Deportes received criticism from several reporters in the US soccer media. There must have been a lot of discussion internally about what was the right way to cover Qatar 2022.
So when I spoke with Warren in an exclusive interview in April 2022, I asked the same question again. This time, there was a big change.
“As it relates to our coverage, we will probably take a cue from NBC Sports and their handling of the Beijing Winter Games. There was a pretty strong comment at the opening ceremony. And at the end of it, ‘Let’s honor the athletes. Let’s honor the fans. Let’s watch some Olympics.’
“I think that is probably going to be our way of addressing it.”
Similarly, in Telemundo’s call with US media in November 2022, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Jonathan Tannenwald asked the question. Warren’s response was as follows:
“By the time the tournament is over, we will have been not ignoring the geopolitical issues that might arise, should that occur.”
A major difference between FOX Sports and Telemundo
It’s important to mention that executives at Telemundo Deportes have made themselves available on at least two separate occasions to speak with US national media before this World Cup. However, the same cannot be said for FOX Sports who are reluctant to make their executives available on a conference call with media.
Similarly, requests by World Soccer Talk to speak with FOX Sports executives have been politely ignored.
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