Remembering Grant Wahl: LeBron James, Billy Jean King, FIFA’s Gianni Infantino and sports world pays tribute



Grant Wahl, an esteemed American sports journalist best known for his soccer reporting with a focus on storytelling and behind-the-scenes coverage of the rise of the sport in the United States, died at the age of 49 early Saturday in Qatar. Wahl collapsed while in the press box of Lusail Stadium during the Argentina-Netherlands quarterfinal match, CBS News reports. He was covering his eighth men’s World Cup.

Wahl was an analyst on CBS Sports HQ throughout the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and wrote guest columns on CBS Sports that focused on the United States men’s national team. He was also an editorial consultant for soccer documentaries on Paramount+.

Here’s how the sports world reacted the loss of a legend in the industry:

Wahl’s wife, Celine Gounder

Wahl’s wife, Celine Gounder, who is an American medical doctor and medical journalist who specializes in infectious diseases and global health, issued the following statement: “I am so thankful for the support of my husband Grant Wahl’s soccer family and of so many friends who’ve reached out tonight. I’m in complete shock.”

FIFA

FIFA president Gianni Infantino released the following statement: “It is with disbelief and immense sadness that I have been made aware of the passing of renowned sports journalist Grant Wahl, whilst reporting on a quarter-final match during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

“Only some days ago, Grant was recognized by FIFA and AIPS for his contribution to reporting on eight consecutive FIFA World Cups, and his career also included attendance at several FIFA Women’s World Cups, as well as a host of other international sporting events. His love for football was immense and his reporting will be missed by all who follow the global game.

“On behalf of FIFA and the football community, we express our sincerest condolences to his wife Celine, his family, and his friends at this most difficult time.”

U.S. Soccer

U.S. Soccer released the following statement: “The entire U.S. Soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl. Fans of soccer and journalism of the highest quality knew we could always count on Grant to deliver insightful and entertaining stories about our game, and its major protagonists: Teams, players, coaches and the many personalities that make soccer unlike any sport. 

“Here in the United States, Grant’s passion for soccer and commitment to elevating its profile across our sporting landscape played a major role in helping to drive interest in and respect for our beautiful game. As important, Grant’s belief in the power of the game to advance human rights was, and will remain, an inspiration to all. Grant made soccer his life’s work, and we are devastated that he and his brilliant writing will no longer be with us. U.S. Soccer sends its sincerest condolences to Grant’s wife, Dr. Celine Gounder, and all of his family members, friends and colleagues in the media. And we thank Grant for his tremendous dedication to and impact on our game in the United States. His writing and the stories he told will live on.”

MLS

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber released the following statement: “We are shocked, saddened and heartbroken over the tragic passing of Grant Wahl. He was a kind and caring person whose passion for soccer and dedication to journalism were immeasurable.”

NWSL

The National Women’s Soccer League released the following statement: “We are heartbroken by the news of Grant Wahl’s death. His commitment to sharing the stories of our beautiful game was unmatched, but more importantly, his integrity, thoughtfulness and kindness were central to the way he lived. Our most sincere condolences to Grant’s family and those close to him at this indescribably sad time.” 

LeBron James

The Lakers star worked with Wahl while he was in high school at St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, Ohio, as the first Sports Illustrated cover story — “The Chosen One” — was made. James offered his condolences when speaking to the media on Friday:

“First of all, my condolences go out to his family. I saw his brother say something as well. Until we get further details into what transpired [I will not comment further on the nature of his death]. 

“But I’m very fond of Grant and having that cover shoot — me being a teenager and him covering that, it was a pretty cool thing. And he was always pretty cool to be around. He spent a lot of time in my hometown of Akron covering me over the course of time before that cover story came out. And I’ve always kind of watched from a distance. Even when I moved up in the ranks and became a professional and he kind of went to a different sport and things of that nature over the years, anytime his name would come up I would always think back to me as a teenager and having Grant in our building down at St. V. So, it’s a tragic loss. It’s unfortunate to lose someone as great as he was and I wish his family, like I said, the best. And may he rest in paradise.” 

Billy Jean King

The American tennis legend who is known for championing gender equality issues, not only in sports, reacted to the news on Friday: “Heartbreaking to hear of the death of Grant Wahl. A talented journalist, Grant was an advocate for the LGBTQ community and a prominent voice for women’s soccer. He used his platform to elevate those whose stories needed telling. Prayers for his family.”

Martin Tyler

Arguably one of the most famous broadcasters in the world of soccer, who was at the Argentina-Netherlands match, mourned the loss of Wahl: “I was in the ground and only was told afterwards that there had been an issue, probably about 10 rows further back from where I was broadcasting. I only found out this morning that it was Grant, who I knew, respected, had some dealings with, because he’s got everybody’s number in his contacts book. 

“He was such a great champion for the world’s game, the game we love, and the country that is fighting to get recognition. It’s a massive loss on that front, and it’s a massive loss personally. I send all of my condolences to his family and friends. I can’t really believe it’s happened to someone so young.”

Brendan Hunt

The co-creator of the Apple TV+ sitcom “Ted Lasso,” as well as a writer and cast member on the show, took to social media to pay tribute: “Sitting here floored by the horrible news that Grant Wahl died today in Qatar. I have read his work for literally decades; just two months ago I had the pleasure of meeting him, and he was an absolute mensch. This is a tragic and devastating loss.”





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *