Drawing a line between sport and social justice: the case of Margaret Court

Australian tennis legend Margaret Court has said she will stop flying Qantas “where possible” in response to the airline’s promotion of same-sex marriage.

 This is now.

This was then

Margaret Court was one of the greatest tennis players of all times.  As a committed Christian, she is now a staunch opponent of some of the more progressive social issues that we confront, in this case, gay marriage.

The arena named after tennis great Margaret Court has taken to Twitter to distance itself – or at least its management – from her incendiary stance on same-sex marriage.

Margaret Court Arena, part of the Melbourne Parks complex, lobbed into the fray, on Friday saying they remain committed to “equality, diversity and inclusion”.

Court, the 74 year-old founder of Victory Life Church in Perth, announced in the West Australian on Thursday saying she will be flying Qantas. That’s probably not going to make much difference to Qantas. But it gives her some media coverage for her retrograde social views.

And she only gets that coverage because she was once a great tennis player.

The problem is essential in this.

Court was famous for being one of the world’s best tennis players and for having a major tennis arena named after her.

She is now seeking to leverage that position to promote a point of view on gay marriage that is radically opposed to the vast bulk of most of the Australians whose money has funded the arena named after her.

So, the question is should we have to run, ride, walk past or sit in the Margaret Court Arena and be reminded that it’s named after a bigot. Albeit a brilliant tennis playing bigot. But still a bigot.

The answer is no.

Time for a rebirthing of the arena.

Perhaps the Martin Navratilova Arena would be appropriate.

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