Grant Wahl, an American journalist who was arrested in Qatar for wearing a rainbow-colored shirt to show support for the LGBT community, died while covering the FIFA World Cup, his brother said today.
Grant, who was 48 years old, passed out at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on Friday while covering the quarterfinal game between Argentina and the Netherlands.
Eric Grant said that the Qatari government might have had something to do with the death of the former Sports Illustrated reporter.
In an Instagram video, he said:
“My name is Eric Wahl, I live in Seattle, Washington, and I’m Grant Wahl’s brother. I’m gay. I’m the reason he wore the rainbow shirt to the World Cup. My brother was healthy and told me he’d been threatened with death. I don’t think he just died; I think he was killed, and I’m begging for any help I can get.”
At the beginning of the World Cup, Grant said that security wouldn’t let him into the US’s first game against Wales at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan and told him to take off his rainbow shirt. When he tweeted about it, he said that his phone had been taken away.
He also said that later, a security guard at the venue apologized to him and let him into the stadium. He also said that a FIFA representative had apologized to him.
It’s still not clear if Grant died at the hospital or on the way to the hospital.
Eric said, “We’re still trying to find out.” “He passed out at the stadium, got CPR, was taken to the hospital by Uber, and died there,” Celine said. We just talked to the State Department, and Celine has talked to Ron Klain and the White House.
Grant had said earlier this week in his newsletter that he had gotten a checkup at a clinic at the Media Center in Qatar. The doctors there said, “You probably have bronchitis.”
“My body finally fell apart.” This is what three weeks of not getting enough sleep, being under a lot of stress, and having a lot of work can do to you… “I could feel a new level of pressure and pain in my upper chest,” Grant wrote in his newsletter.
He told her he was “feeling a bit better just a few hours later. But still: no Bueno.”
Rights groups have worried about the rights of fans traveling to the event, especially LGBT+ people and women, who are treated unfairly by the Qatari government.
In a statement, the U.S. Soccer Federation said it was “heartbroken” to hear about Grant’s death and that he would continue to be “an inspiration to all.”
U.S. Soccer Statement On The Passing Of Grant Wahl: pic.twitter.com/CBp1mCK1mQ
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) December 10, 2022
The US Soccer Federation said, “The whole US Soccer family is heartbroken to hear that Grant Wahl has died.” Here in the U.S., Grant’s love of soccer and dedication to making it more well-known in sports played a big part in getting people interested in and respecting our “beautiful game.”
“As important, Grant’s belief that sports could help improve human rights was and will always be an inspiration to everyone.”
Celine Gounder, Grant’s wife, is an epidemiologist and an expert on infectious diseases. She posted on social media about how shocked she was.
I am so thankful for the support of my husband @GrantWahl's soccer family & of so many friends who've reached out tonight.
I'm in complete shock. https://t.co/OB3IzOxGlE
— Céline Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA 🇺🇦 (@celinegounder) December 10, 2022
“I’m so grateful that my husband’s soccer family and so many friends have reached out to help me tonight. I can’t believe she sent out a tweet.
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