Using sports to improve a bad reputation
China's frequent bids to host the Olympics are a prime example of how powerful they think sportswashing can be.
|Greenwashing||Deceptively claiming to be eco-friendly|
|Rainbow washing||Claiming to be LGBTQ allies to make money|
|Virtue signaling||Demonstrating moral superiority|
|Performative activism||Activism performed to gain social standing|
|Get woke||Become aware of social issues|
|Chasing clout||Doing things just to become popular|
When a country, group, or individual uses sports to distract from their reputation of wrongdoing, that's sportswashing. Sportswashers hope people's love of sports will transfer to their reputation, removing at least some negative associations.
For example, Saudi Arabia, whose human rights reputation is less than stellar, frequently attempts to sportswash by sponsoring and hosting golf events. In 2021, Saudi Arabia even went so far as to launch its own golf series, LIV Golf, to compete with the PGA Tour. This series drew famous golfers like Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson - and if they're willing to play in a Saudi-backed series, surely the country can't be so bad?
Other examples of sportswashing include: