A US-based sports journalist, who was briefly detained in Qatar for wearing a rainbow shirt as a form of expressing support for LGBTQ, has died under mysterious possibilities.
Grant Wahl (49) collapsed on Friday while covering the World Cup quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands. According to media reports, Wahl suddenly lost consciousness while being sat in the press box at Lusail Iconic Stadium during extra time.
Wahl had covered 8 world cups to date. “Just an incredible designed set-piece goal by the Netherlands,” he posted his last tweet at 2:35 am (IST) on Saturday.
Just an incredible designed set-piece goal by the Netherlands.
— Subscribe to GrantWahl.com (@GrantWahl) December 9, 2022
Complaints about deteriorating health
In a substack newsletter dated Tuesday (December 6), Grant Wahl told his subscribers about his weakening health. “My body finally broke down on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you,” he had written.
“What had been a cold over the last 10 days turned into something more severe on the night of the USA-Netherlands game, and I could feel my upper chest take on a new level of pressure and discomfort,” the soccer journalist pointed out.
“I didn’t have Covid (I test regularly here), but I went into the medical clinic at the main media centre today, and they said I probably have bronchitis. They gave me a course of antibiotics and some heavy-duty cough syrup, and I’m already feeling a bit better just a few hours later. But still: No Bueno,” he highlighted.
My brother received death threats: Eric Wahl
In an Instagram post, Eric Wahl disclosed that his brother Grant Wahl had received danger to his life. “I am gay. I am the reason he wore the rainbow shirt (representative of the LGBTQ+ community) to the World Cup,” he was heard as telling.
Indicating foul play, Eric pointed out, “My brother was healthy. He told me that he received death threats.” He further emphasised, “I do not believe that my brother just died. I believe he was killed. And I just beg for any help.”
After the video of his Instagram post went viral, the deceased journalist’s brother turned his public account (@eewahl) to private.
Grant Wahl criticised Qatar over the treatment of migrant labourers
In his last substack newsletter on Friday (December 9), Grant Wahl criticised the Qatari World Cup organisers for their lack of sympathy towards migrant labourers.
“They just don’t care. Qatari World Cup organizers don’t even hide their apathy over migrant worker deaths, including the most recent one,” he wrote.
The soccer journalist had criticised Nasser Al-Khater, the CEO of the Qatari Supreme Committee, for downplaying the death of a Filipino migrant worker (which was initially brushed under the carpet).
While speaking to the BBC, Naseer had said, “We’re in the middle of a World Cup, and we have a successful World Cup. And this is something that you want to talk about right now?”
Detention of Grant Wahl for supporting LGBTQ+
On November 21 2022, Grant Wahl was detained by security personnel for wearing a rainbow-coloured T-shirt to the Ahmad bin Ali stadium during the match between the United States and Wales.
He wore the T-shirt to express support for the LGBTQ+ community. Grant Wahl was initially obstructed by a security guard and asked to remove his shirt. His phone was seized while he attempted to tweet about the incident.
The journalist was detained for about 25 minutes during which he was told that his rainbow-coloured T-shirt was ‘political’ in nature. During his detention, the security personnel also inquired whether he was from the United Kingdom.