So after all the media speculation and the back and forth, UAE is granting Andy Ram a visa and changing it's policy so that no Israeli athletes will be banned in the future. So change has occurred but at what cost? It feels like such a hollow victory to me, not unlike how I felt when Obama won and Prop 8 passed.
Women’s Tennis Association chief Larry Scott: “I had been in touch with heads of several other sports and people in the Olympic movement and there was shock and dismay over this decision and real concern as to what the implications would be.
“I know certain organisations called for a sporting boycott or suspension of all sporting activities in the UAE until this policy was changed. So there were potential ramifications for all other sports.”
Men’s ATP Tour chief Adam Helfant: “No player, who qualifies to play an ATP World Tour event, should be denied their right to compete on the basis of ethnicity, nationality or religion and we are happy that the Dubai Tennis Championships and the UAE have shown that they share that view. The UAE government has made the right decision.”
Shahar Peer: “I hope and believe that from this day forward, athletes from all over the world will be able to compete in the UAE and anywhere else in the world without discrimination of any kind.”
Andy Ram: “I am pleased that the UAE have today confirmed that I will be able to travel to their country next week to compete in the Dubai Tennis Championships. As a professional tennis player I thrive on competing at the world’s best events and next week will be no different.”
Israel Tennis Association honorary president David Harnik: “The Dubai tennis authorities and the Dubai government learned a lesson from the firm standing … about the consequences that Dubai might face if they do not let Israeli players play in Dubai. The Dubai authorities were afraid that they would not be able to hold tournaments next year if they were to go on with their behaviour of discrimination against Israeli players.”
Seven-times grand slam champion Venus Williams: “It was a big deal around the world and people took notice. We’re all just athletes. It’s wonderful that Andy Ram will have the opportunity to play here. We have no platform. We’re just playing tennis, we’re entertainers.”
Ten-times grand slam champion Serena Williams: “The pressure that they (UAE) felt after Shahar Peer not getting a visa, it opened up the opportunity for this other player to get a visa. In the day and age like this everyone bleeds red blood and everyone to me (should have) an equal opportunity.”
2008 Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic: “I don’t think sport should ever mix with politics… and it’s a step forward for everybody.”
Jonathan Erlich, Ram’s regular doubles partner: “The fact that people want to harm (Israeli players) is simply an excuse. As far as I’m concerned, they can surround the players with the entire army, the players need to be able to play.”
I'm still more interested in what penalties (if any) will be imposed on the tournament and what the WTA will demand in order to recompense Shahar. Obviously she should get a good chunk of change. But how do you calculate that? She was in the quarter of the draw with Virginie Razzano, who is one match away from making the finals. Do we use that as a but for metric and demand the tournament shell out whatever Shahar would have earned in that case? Sure, we all probably suspect that Shahar would never have got past the third round. But who had KK, Razzano, and Vesnina in the quarters?
Hell, if I were Larry Scott I would demand the tournament pay Shahar for a finals appearance. Because you can't just give her what you think she would have earned. On some level the amount she gets has to be punitive. You basically have to say "Look, had you just let her play you would have paid her a lot less than you're going to have to now. Because all odds and betting aside, you can't guarantee the results. THAT'S WHY YOU PLAY THE MATCHES." In addition, the WTA will, at a minimum, not dock Shahar for the points that drop off from Doha because she wasn't given a chance to defend them.
What do you think? What should Shahar get? 42 camels and all the schwarma she can eat? Though you know those bastards would limit it to pork schwarma if given the chance.
UPDATED: Once again, Deadspin nails it:
U.A.E. officials say they denied Pe'er's visa over security concerns—her security, of course—but there's no word on how awesome security has become in the last three days to justify the change of heart.