Many football fans were surprised to see Morgan Freeman during the Qatar World Cup opening ceremony – and were even more confused by one of his hands.
Before the tournament opener between the host nation and Ecuador, the Hollywood actor delivered a powerful speech to the crowd and millions watching at around the world, although not on BBC One.
The 85-year-old actor got on a stage in the middle of the pitch at Doha’s Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday night to speak to Qatari influencer Ghanim al Muftah.
“We gather here as one big tribe and Earth is the tent we all live in,” said the Dark Knight and Se7en star, who was slammed by some critics due to the controversial nature of the tournament.
He continued: “Football spans the world, unites nations in their love of the beautiful game. What brings together nations also brings together communities.
“We all have a story on football and how it brought us together and this land has a story of its very own.”
But much of the attention was on what he was wearing on one his hands, rather than what he was actually saying.
On Twitter, one person asked: “Why did Morgan Freeman wear a glove on his left hand?”
“Why does Morgan freeman have a fake hand guys,” questioned another.
— Dennis Muthuri (@dennis_muthuri_) November 20, 2022
It wasn’t a fashion choice, as it’s actually a compression glove that he has been forced to wear on and off for 14 years.
But it’s rarely seen during his movies and any promotional photos and videos as he usually takes it off.
Sadly, Freeman was in a car crash back in 2008 that left him with life-changing injuries.
He was lucky to survive the terrifying ordeal, as his vehicle rolled over multiple times after coming off a Mississippi highway and landed in a ditch.
The actor, who had been driving, was conscious and talking at the scene before being airlifted to hospital with his passenger.
Freeman broke his left shoulder, arm and elbow in the accidents and doctors operated for four hours to repair nerve damage.
While he recovered, he was left with a relatively useless left hand and constant pain due to the chronic muscular condition fibromyalgia.
“I suffered nerve damage and it hasn’t gotten better. I can’t move it,’ he said at the time.
“If you don’t move your hand, it will swell up. Do you know you move your hand about a million times a day?”
Now he must wear the compression glove to keep the blood flowing and was left in “excruciating” agony.
He can no longer sail, pilot jets in the way he had before, drive a manual car, ride horses as much, and had to play golf one-handed.
During an interview with Esquire in 2012, interviewer, Tom Chiarella explained: “It hurts when he walks, when he sits still when he rises from his couch, and when he missteps in a damp meadow.
“More than hurts. It seems a kind of agony, though he never mentions it.
“Despite surgery to repair nerve damage, he was stuck with a useless left hand. It is stiffly gripped by a compression glove most of the time to ensure that blood doesn’t pool there.
“It is a clamp, his pain, an icy shot up a relatively useless limb.”
Freeman’s glove isn’t usually seen in his movies, but it was on display during his appearance at the Qatar 2022 opening ceremony.
The actor appeared alongside Ghanim al Muftah, who was born with caudal regression syndrome – a rare disorder that impairs the development of the lower spine.
“We sent out the call because everyone is welcome,” said the influencer. “This is an invitation to the whole world.”
The actor replied: “I remember, even after hearing the call, instead of seeing another way, we dismissed it and demanded our own way. And now the world feels even more distant and divided.”
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the World Cup opening ceremony, which is usually a far less scandalous affair.
It was not shown live on BBC One, with the broadcaster showing live coverage of the Women’s Super League fixture between Chelsea and Tottenham instead, but it could be viewed on iPlayer.
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