The shocking death of American soccer journalist Grant Wahl shook the world as Martina Navratilova and others in the tennis world reacted to the unfortunate news on Friday. While he was covering the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal between Argentina and the Netherlands in Qatar on Friday night, Grant is said to have fallen back in his chair and collapsed.
Wahl immediately got assistance from emergency workers at the Lusail Stadium after fellow journalists alerted them. However, the rest of the media personnel were later informed that Wahl had died. The 49-year-old was the same journalist who was asked to leave a stadium during the early stages of the World Cup for wearing a shirt in support of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Martina Navratilova expressed her sadness after learning of the American soccer journalist’s death.
“Jesus… so sad,” the American tennis great wrote in response to a tweet on the same.
Leading tennis journalists Ben Rothenberg and Courtney Nguyen also expressed their shock and sadness.
“Utterly shocking news about Grant Wahl, who was the consummate pro, covering his sport in exemplary fashion. Holy shit, this is horrendous,” Rothenberg wrote on Twitter.
“Sitting here in utter shock,” Nguyen said.
Reportedly, Grant Wahl’s brother Eric Wahl took to social media to suggest there was foul play involved in Wahl’s death and that his brother received death threats. His Instagram post alleging the same has now been deleted.
“His brother says on Instagram that Grant was fully healthy & believes there’s foul play,” read a tweet from the business entrepreneur Jack Settleman.
Reacting to the same, Rothenberg called for a thorough investigation into Wahl’s death.
Meanwhile, Wahl had reportedly hinted at feeling a great deal of discomfort regarding his health, revealing that he visited a medical facility in Qatar earlier this week.
“My body finally broke down on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress, and lots of work can do that to you. 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,” Wahl wrote on his website on Monday, according to ESPN.
While he had repeatedly tested negative for COVID-19, he was diagnosed with bronchitis by doctors at a medical facility in the media center at one of the venues for the FIFA World Cup.
Martina Navratilova expressed dissent after Grant Wahl was denied entry into a Qatar stadium for wearing rainbow shirt
Ahead of the USA‘s 2022 FIFA World Cup opener against Wales a few weeks ago, Grant Wahl wore a rainbow t-shirt in support of the LGBTQIA+ community and later took to social media to state that security officials asked him to remove his t-shirt and leave the stadium. He also said that he was detained for a few minutes at the stadium before being let go.
Martina Navratilova reacted to the same soon after the incident. She criticized tournament officials and the host nation over the same.
“What happens when countries that should never get anywhere near a massive sporting event like the World Cup, get awarded with hosting,” Martina Navratilova wrote on Twitter.