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post #198 of (permalink) Old 12-23-2011, 07:31 PM
country flag Guy Haines
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Re: Should Tennis Australia change the name of the Margaret Court show court @ the AO

Originally Posted by kingiskingfineon View Post
but that has nothing to do with sports right
This is such a false ruse (also voiced by Topspin Doctor), and it speaks to how thoroughly today's sports fans have been conditioned to think of top athletes as nothing more than (subhuman?) products. It also ignores all the comparatively uncontroversial human rights work of top tennis professionals from Federer on down.

Tell Jesse Owens, Hank Aaron, Arthur Ashe or Muhammad Ali that sport has nothing to do with human rights. Tell Martina Navratilova.

In fact, if that were the case, people with that viewpoint should be going after Margaret Court, not the gay fans or athletes (or those supportive of gay rights) here or elsewhere who might respond to her.

It was Margaret Court who, knowing she has an arena (in fact an arena named after her) as a public sports figure, used her profile and privilege to speak out against gay rights at a time when they are at the political foreground in Australia.

So gay fans or athletes or those supportive of gay rights are supposed to ignore her and carry on as if nothing happened because of some mythic division between sports and politics? It's ridiculous.

Sports have all kinds of political dimensions, from the national divisions implicit in the Olympic Games, World Cup, and other events on down to personal stories of struggle.

Over on TennisForum this issue/thread has -- at least at first, before the sniping and entrenched argument -- manifested differently, with the OP trying to instigate some kind of visible action. But in the public eye, aside from comments by Billie Jean King, Rennae Stubbs, and Martina (who Margaret Court attacked by name years ago when Martina was still a top athlete), the most I've seen is Brad Gilbert inferring he wants to wear a rainbow kerchief during broadcast. Not much.

For a gay or lesbian athlete (or one strongly supportive of gay rights), being asked to play at Margaret Court Arena could be a dilemma. But I'm expecting the majority in this day and age to carry on corporate and closeted or simply exercising their right to steer clear of the issue. I'd actually be surprised if a top player, especially on the men's side, made a statement, whether verbal or visual.

While at this point I'm not yet sold on changing the venue's name, I'm hoping that something interesting happens during the Australian Open in reaction to Margaret Court's message, at the venue named after her. If nothing does, it'll be a shame.
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