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Hamas-Harboring Qatar Set To Buy DC Sports Franchises, Parents Of Hostage Plead With Leagues For Help

  The leadership of   Hamas   operates out of Qatar, which finances and protects the terrorist group. Yet the owner of the Washington Capita...

 The leadership of Hamas operates out of Qatar, which finances and protects the terrorist group. Yet the owner of the Washington Capitals and the Washington Wizards sports franchises is set to sell the foreign nation a 5% stake in the teams.

Now the parents of an American who is being held hostage by Hamas are pleading with the NHL to use its leverage to help get their son home safe — a cry that so far has fallen on deaf ears.

The league and other team owners typically have veto power over whether an owner sells a stake in a team, and the NHL is still in the “due diligence” window of reviewing the prospective sale, the parents wrote.

“The NHL has a unique and powerful opportunity to help our son, Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who is being held hostage in Gaza,” Jonathan Polin and Rachel Goldberg wrote to NHL Commissioner Gary Bruce Bettman and his top lieutenants this week. “He was abducted from a music festival on Saturday October 7th after having his left arm blown off under heavy grenade and gunfire… Medical experts have told us that without immediate medical care, our son might not be able to last much longer.”

“As we understand it, the NHL is currently doing due diligence on the proposed purchase of 5% of the Washington Capitals by the Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the country that harbors and sponsors Hamas’ top leadership,” they wrote in the email, which was obtained by The Daily Wire.

The parents argue that Qatar has failed to take steps to fight Hamas, yet is being welcomed into the NHL. They believe the league should exert pressure on the oil-rich country, which spends a fortune in the United States to garner influence in the West.

“It is unconscionable that Qatar can refuse to arrest Hamas leaders and yet be welcomed into the ownership not just of a pillar of American society like the NHL, but specifically as part owners of the only NHL franchise based in our nation’s capital,” they say in the email. “Extensive reporting in recent years has detailed how Qatar has spent untold millions on lobbyists and PR flaks; the NHL may be enabling sponsors of Hamas to increase their already remarkable political influence in the U.S.”

“We believe that buying into the NHL, and into Washington, DC in particular, is a top priority for the State of Qatar. Thus, pressure from the NHL on Qatar might be uniquely impactful. While an estimated 150-200 innocent civilians, including 20 Americans besides our son, are being held hostage, the leaders of Hamas ultimately responsible for the kidnappings and the murders of 1,400 innocent souls are living openly in Doha.”

“The choice for the NHL is stark. Why would the NHL want to welcome into its ranks the very people who empower the Hamas leaders to continue overseeing in real time a gruesome and unspeakable terror campaign, including holding Americans and others hostage? Qatar’s refusal to arrest Hamas leaders should be a red line for the NHL. Only once Hamas leaders in Doha lose their freedom can the hostages in Gaza, including our son Hersh, gain theirs,” the letter concluded.

No one from the NHL responded to the terrified parents’ letter, according to a source familiar with the matter. The NHL did not return a request for comment from The Daily Wire.

Monumental Sports and Entertainment owns D.C.-area sports properties including the Capitals, basketball’s Washington Wizards, the WNBA’s Mystics, and the Capital One Arena where they all play.

Anu Rangappa, a spokeswoman for Monumental, said the deal has already closed and cannot be undone.

Asked about Qatar’s funding of Hamas, she told The Daily Wire “but this is also about the fan experience. Have you ever been to Capital One Arena? Have you ever thought, why isn’t the food better here, or why is there shitty lighting here? In order to do that, we need to find new partners.”

“They’re not trying to gain any influence in any way,” she said of the Qataris. She said the Qataris were only interested in a savvy investment—but also said that the Capitals lose money.

Asked about whether–even if the Capitals and Wizards felt they needed more capital–there was an assessment of value alignment before taking someone’s money, she said “the pool is dwindling [when it comes to people who can or will fund big-name sports franchises], you’re looking at billionaires, or hedge funds, or sovereign wealth funds.”

Asked whether, if funding Hamas was not a reason to refuse someone’s money, there was anyone’s money who Monumental would not accept, she said “I can’t answer a hypothetical.” She said she didn’t know whether Monumental would ask its business partner to secure the release of American hostages.

On being business parters with a country that keeps 95% of its workers in slavery-like conditions, with thousands of Nepalese indentured servants dying building its World Cup stadium, Rangappa said “I’m not going to make a commentary on that.”

Before working for Monumental, Rangappa worked for the Clinton White House, the Democratic National Committee, and the John Kerry and Al Gore campaigns.

Monumental was founded by former AOL executive Ted Leonsis and Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple’s Steve Jobs, is also a co-owner.

Qatar spends millions of dollars attempting to present a moderate face to the West and to influence international politics, even as it engages with extremists and 95% of its labor force is comprised of indentured servants from Nepal and other countries. Qatar says Israel is “solely responsible” for the terrorist attacks on it.

In November 2022, the NBA permitted “sovereign wealth funds” to purchase minority stakes in teams, subject to “significant vetting.” Other sports leagues soon followed.

In June, the Associated Press reported that Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the QIA, would be the first to do so, buying a 5% stake in Monumental for some $200 million. “The NBA Board is currently reviewing a potential investment by QIA in Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the Washington Wizards,” spokesman Mike Bass said at the time.

“NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told the AP the league had already approved the investment,” the report said.

Monumental announced the deal with Qatar in July in a press release that seemed to highlight how Qatar is interested not just in any sports teams, but in the nation’s political capital specifically. It noted that Qatar is also the principal owner of a large residential and commercial sector of Washington, D.C. a few blocks from the stadium.

The Washington Post’s editorial board said at the time that Qatar is seeking “proximity to all the powerful people in Washington” and that Monumental should “expect the community to object when it does business with an authoritarian regime opposed to those same values.”

Sports leagues are generally set up so that owners of other teams, collectively, can block or force sales of any one time.

Last year, Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver was pressured to sell after allegations of racism. Former LA Clippers basketball team owner Donald Sterling was forced to sell the team for making a racist remark about blacks. Football owners contemplated forcing the owner of Washington’s football team to sell following reports about a culture of sexual harassment, a situation that ended in Dan Synder selling.

The WNBA and NBA players lobbied aggressively to secure the release of Brittney Griner, who was jailed in Russia for drug possession. President Joe Biden ultimately traded a convicted arms dealer for her release.

The NHL has aggressively pushed transgenderism, while cementing a deal with a country where homosexuality is a crime. And this month, the NBA issued a statement saying “The NBA and NBPA mourn the horrific loss of life in Israel and condemn these acts of terrorism. We stand with the people of Israel and pray for peace for the entire region.” The NHL put out a virtually identical statement.

But to the parents of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, those statements ring as hollow virtue-signaling, as the sports groups do business with those funding that terrorism.

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