McEnroe Brothers Under Fire For Planning To Play Exhibition In Tanzania

McEnroe Brothers Under Fire For Planning To Play Exhibition In Tanzania

by Erik Virostko

Last updated

Brothers John McEnroe and Patrick McEnroe are set to play an exhibition match in Tanzania, but their decision has come under fire from human rights organizations.

The McEnroe brothers are among the most successful siblings in tennis history. They have both enjoyed great success on the ATP Tour, with John winning seven Grand Slam titles in singles and Patrick excelling in doubles.

Now, both serve as Team Captains for Team World at the Laver Cup. On top of that, John is doing commentary for various tennis broadcasters, among other things, while Patrick has his own podcast.

They are also taking every opportunity to return to the court, even if it's not a tennis court. John McEnroe played in some pickleball exhibitions, but this time, he's set to compete against his brother on the tennis court.

The two are scheduled to play an exhibition match in Tanzania as part of the "Epic Tanzania Tour," which the Tanzanian government is co-organizing.

However, their expedition, which includes tennis clinics for Maasai children and visits to a "Maasai Cultural Village," wasn't met with a lot of support and understanding, as per Human Rights Watch.

For decades, the Maasai have relied heavily on cattle farming and have faced government-led eviction from their ancestral lands.

The McEnroe brothers' decision to play their exhibition in this context is increasingly seen as tone-deaf. Their participation at the event also grants them and their guests access to areas like the Ngorongoro crater — a privilege denied to the Maasai.

Criticism has also emerged from within Tanzania. Edward Porokwa, who is the director of the Arusha-based Pastoralists Indigenous Non-Governmental Organization's Forum, has labeled the tour "irresponsible," accusing the legendary brothers of ignoring human rights issues.

In recent memory, different countries, mostly Saudi Arabia, were accused of sports washing, and it will be interesting to see how the McEnroe brothers approach the situation.


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