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Billie Jean King wants Australian Open to take anti-gay Margaret Court’s name off of arena

Margaret Court won the Australian Open singles title a record 11 times during her career.

But the Hall of Fame career of the tennis legend, who also won three Wimbledon crowns and five times each at the French Open and the US Open, has seen her tennis accomplishments overshadowed in recent year by her anti-gay bigotry.

Meanwhile, Court’s great on-court rival Billie Jean King, who is openly gay, is being increasingly celebrated for her accomplishments both on and off the court including The Battle of the Sexes feature film released earlier this year.

King spoke out earlier today with her strongest statements yet against Court who unsuccessfully fought against same-sex marriage becoming legal in Australia and had also once claimed tennis was “full of lesbians” and that transgender children were the result of a Nazi-style “plot” to brainwash the minds of young people.

King wants organizers of the Australian Open, which begins on Monday, to change the name of Margaret Court Arena telling reporters: “I think it’s its really important, if you’re going to have your name on anything, that you’re hospitable, inclusive, you’re opening arms to everyone that comes to a public facility. … I was fine until lately she said so many derogatory things about my community. I’m a gay woman; about the LGBTIQ community. That really went deep in my heart and soul. I don’t think she should have her name (on it) any more.”

Court had previously announced she will not attend this month’s tournament.

Some have suggested the arena be renamed to honor former number one and four-time Australian Open singles champion Evonne Goolagong. The Aussie great also won Wimbledon twice as well as a title at the French Open.

FILE UNDER: Controversy, Tennis


(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

9 Remarks

  1. I do not agree. Why is it essential that everyone venerate homosexuals? This woman is a champion athlete who doesn’t like gay people and that is perfectly acceptable in a free society. Her athletic accomplishment and professional rewards should not be minimized because she does not share a tolerance for homosexuals.

  2. @Rye-If Court used the ‘N’ word to describe black people or Kyke to describe Jews would you be ok with it?

  3. Yes, but I think those are ignorant words. However, freedom of speech and self expression is not for those who only speak the words and express meaning to idea that I believe in. It is not my preferred choice of self expression but she has every right to express herself openly and freely, even if she is of the lowest character by using those types of words. I do not support the policing of thoughts and freedom of expression. She has earned a place is athletics. No one should be able to arbitrarily remove her career or place because others do not share or care for her politics and/or beliefs.

  4. Rye, no one is taking away any awards or anything else she earned.

    An honorary naming should rightly be revoked when truth comes to light. Be it racists, homophobes, or whomever else.

  5. I disagree. Freedom is a wonderful thing. However, it cannot be rolled out on a case by case basis based upon majority approval only after a thorough vetting process. The U.S. Constitution grants everyone freedom. Therefore, she has the right to think, say, and believe how she chooses and still receive an honorary naming as part of the sport regardless of whether or not you, and those who share your views, think she is deserving. Additionally, those who oppose her views have the Arthur Ash stadium, so why can’t those with her view have a stadium too?

  6. Rye—NO ONE has infringed on Court’s free speech. Nobody is erasing her records. A bigot shouldn’t have her name on an Arena that holds so many diverse players, some of which are LGBT. Period!

  7. So this is your decision exclusively and the rest of us are only permitted the limits of freedom that you distribute? Nowhere is it written that in order to have a structure named after a person they must pass some leftist altruistic criteria. The arena has been named after this champion and if King or others think she wasn’t an adequate professional player to deserve such an honor then they should have considered that prior to bestowing the honor upon her. However, if her beliefs and politics aren’t inclusive enough to pass your altruism exam then too bad.

  8. Constitution, first amendment and all that wouldn’t apply in the US regardless. This isn’t the government. And this is Australia so that’s a moot point anyway.

    Racists, homophobes, rapists, and others should not be venerated. Period. This is why we can honor history and remove statues as our views change. Otherwise we’d never evolve. We aren’t going to forget.

    And, in this case, her record is NOT as good as one might think. Greg can likely explain it better, but she win a great many of her matches before the modern era and had little to no real competition. Australia was proud of her regardless but as more and more of her bigotry and religious extremism are voiced, more and more of them want her name off public buildings.

  9. Rye-Why are you defending a homophobe? Explain that to me.

    This has NOTHING to do with her freedom of speech. She can say-and has-whatever the fuck she wants but that also comes with consequences. She is a bigot and bigots should NOT have arenas or monuments named after them in celebration. If you are unable to understand that it’s willful ignorance on your part nothing more.

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