Winning tennis’ 24 Grand Slam titles is legendary. Margaret Court did this. Then she dedicated her post-tennis-life to serve people’s spirituality. She also trained and inspired young tennis player to greatness. Therefore, she was then deemed a good role model. As a result, we see “Margaret Court Arena” in Melbourne.
But now, we can see that she seems to be homophobic. Also, we can see her quite a bully, arrogant with a hint of a racism. So, if these are true, is it too much to ask to rename the arena? Perhaps with another name that more deserving as a role model.
Below is the complete story of Margaret Court saga. I did not do it on my own. Rather, this article is curated content from many sources. All of those original sources are mentioned at the end of this article. Enjoy.
The Background Story
In April 2017, Qantas Airways start supporting marriage equality. Qantas joined the AirBnb’s #untilweallbelong. This is a campaign to push the government to take action about gay marriage.
Little anybody knows this really bothers Margaret Court a lot (Click here for her Wikipedia page). Looks like she cannot contain her own anti-gay rage. You can observe this from a rather arrogant open letter that she sent.
Start with bragging, she then forced her belief and expressed her disapproval by Qantas move on marriage-equality. See picture.
And the rest is history.
People from everywhere, gay or straight, disagree with her anti-gay rant. To name a few: tennis legend Martina Navratilova, Andy Murray, former AMA president, Victoria Premier, journalist, even prominent clergy. They cannot hide their dislike anymore and started criticising her.
On the other hand, PM Malcolm Turnbull tried to be neutral. He suggested separating the 2 alter egos. Margaret Court “the tennis player” or Margaret Court “the homophobic” woman. And to act accordingly.
But everybody else seems to place a significant distance to the tennis legend. Including Tennis Australia and Margaret Court Arena’s management (see statement at the bottom).
Interestingly, the centre of the discussion is about “Margaret Court Arena”. Bearing a name of such prestigious venue, people expected Margaret Court to be a much better role model. dk#26b4e91b
Margaret Court’s anti-LGBT antiques
I believe we all need to know why Margaret Court have such firm treatment. But, simply put, she has done it before and ignorance is not a bliss. Feel free to enlighten yourself with all the following:
Abdominal Sexual Practices (?)
- It was 2012, a week before Australian Open. Australian Federal Government proposed a marriage reform plans to include gay marriage. As expected, Court immediately criticised it publicly.
- So, she said:”To dismantle this sole definition of marriage and try to legitimise what God calls abominable sexual practices that include sodomy, reveals our ignorance as to the ills that come when society is forced to accept the law that violates their very own God-given nature of what is right and what is wrong.”
- As a result, there was big outrage and people was protesting in Margaret Court Arena. Strike #1, Mrs Court.
Homosexuality is a curable disease (?)
- Margaret Court believes that homosexuality is a disease that curable.
- As a result, Professor Kerryn Phelps, former Australian Medical Association (AMA) president, take this offend seriously “… she runs some kind of program in her so-called church where she tries to cure homosexuality.”
- And Phelps added “Now, you cannot cure something that’s not a disease or a problem. The disease or the problem is homophobia. That’s the thing that needs to be cured.”
Homosexuality is a “sin of the flesh” (?)
- In 2014, she told a congregation in Albury-Wodonga outrageous anti-LGBT remarks. She said that being gay was a “sin of the flesh”, that it (being gay) is a choice, and that could be the result of sexual abuse.
- So outrageous that even Anglican’s St Matthew’s Church Archdeacon Peter MacLeod-Miller has labelled Court’s comments “medieval”.
- Then Father MacLeod-Miller added, “If you look at what Australia’s current sports people are doing about tolerance … that’s rather astounding that she should be so out of touch with the real game and the real game is about empowering people, not judging them.”
- As far as I know, Anglican Church uses the same Bible that Court’s church use, don’t they?
She is gay, rot in hell!
- In 2016, she stirred up more controversy. She said that she didn’t want Martina Navratilova to win Wimbledon because she was gay.
- So, this is really some rubbish talks coming from a respected former athlete, isn’t it? Where is the respect? Where is the sportmanship?
Hitler, communism and the devil!
- Speaking in a radio interview, Mrs Court said that there is a correlation between transgender issues and propaganda tools used on children by communist regimes.
- Yes, she was linking homosexuality to Hitler and communism. Gee, what ??!!
- Then, Court further said that homosexuality was causing huge problems in countries where it was legalised.
- Also, that homosexuality was an ungodly “lust for the flesh”. And that LGBT tendencies in young people were “all the devil.” “That’s what Hitler did. That’s what communism did,” Court said.
- To link same-sex marriage to Nazism is “profoundly offensive, betrays an utter lack of understanding of the historical truth and only fans the flames of hatred and demonization”, says Dr Dvir Abramovich, chairman of civil rights group the Anti-Defamation Commission.
“This absolute lack of compassion also insults the memory of the victims, which included gay people, as well as survivors and all those Diggers who fought against the Nazis,” he said. “We urge Margaret Court to apologise for appalling and hurtful rhetoric.”
Casey Dellacua bullying
Then there was Casey Dellacua saga. It is my opinion that this is the worst sin of Margaret Court as a role model.
Casey is Australian tennis player who happens to be gay. Margaret Court is Casey’s own mentor in the tennis world. The greatest tennis player in the world mentored a young tennis player try to jump start her career.
In 2013, Dellacua’s partner gave birth a baby boy named Blake. So. the local newspaper featured a congratulatory article. And, guess what Margaret Court did? She wrote an open letter to the newspaper and singled out Casey’s family to “deprived” the baby’s right to a father and questioned the validity of same-sex relationships.
Remember, Margaret knows her well. Casey is her own tennis family. What was Court thinking? What was the purpose of that letter? Surely, not for helping Casey. Probably, I am speculating here, to tell the world that “I am sick of gay people and since Casey is respecting me very well, she will not make any noise”.
And indeed, Casey did not say a word and let it go out of respect. Then, after almost 4 years, unfortunately, Margaret does it again with this Qantas rant. So, Casey broke her silence and revealed the bullying she received from Margaret in one simple tweet: “Margaret. Enough is enough.”
So, does Casey then get an apology? Keep reading, you will be appalled.
Margaret Court: Humble? Not!
- That open letter to Qantas starts with “I have represented Australia many times and have the proud record of never losing a tennis match while playing for my country” – so what? So, you now have the right to incite hatred to LGBT community?
- When Casey Dellaqua finally reveals the bullying to the world, this is the reply: “Casey has never won a grand slam. I won 24,” Court said. What a spoil-brag…
- Then when asked the possibility of the arena renamed anyway, she replies: “I think I’ve won more grand slams than any man or woman and if it is (renamed), I don’t believe I deserve it,” she told Melbourne radio station 3AW. Huh? This is now an entitlement?
- And one final thing that insults everybody’s intelligent. After all the above, she repeatedly said that she was not anti-gay. “I actually love homosexual people“, Court said. Really? Hypocrite or liar?
Sign the petition at change.org website! to rename Margaret Court Arena
Margaret Court: A Racist?
As revealed by Martina Navratilova in his open letter, Margaret Court was a supporter of South Africa’s apartheid. “Saying that South Africa dealt with the ‘situation’ (meaning people of colour) much better than anywhere else in the world, particularly the US: what exactly did she mean by that?”
Sign the petition at change.org website! to rename Margaret Court Arena
Using Literalism From Bible? It’s Very Dangerous!
This area is to discuss religion, you can skip if it irritates you. :-)
I would like to emphasise that the following are something of vital in nature:
- If a Christian pastor (like Margaret Court) or any other religious leader argue an issue with literalism, i.e., “Just shut up, it is written in the Bible (or Quran, etc.) end of a story – no more discussion“, then they come to a very embarrassing and dangerous territory.
- For a start, they are literally telling people that they do not know the nature of their own holy book. Either it was a Bible, Quran or any other holy books, they are books of guidance that full of metaphors, insights and high-level theology which also have been evolving thousands of years – passing generation upon generation to these days. So, you cannot really take anything from the holy book literally without knowing its context and the greater good it serves.
- For example, what ISIS did. All the beheading of infidel/non-believer, even the killing spree of their Moslem brother. They are all indeed a “correct” implementation of Quran. Technically speaking, if literalism is used exclusively, they are the right one as the “correct” Islam.
But the fact is, ISIS’ view is only adopted by a tiny percentage of Moslems. Many millions “moderate Moslem” knew better and did not take the content of the Quran as is to the letter literally.
- A Christianity example: what Jesus said in Matthew 19:6. The context is about marriage. Jesus ruled that there should not be a divorced. “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined, let no one separate.” This verse is very direct and definite message there is no ambiguity at all – no divorced!
Now tell me, except the Catholic Church which relatively conform to this rule of no divorce, which denomination of Christian Churches who blatantly ignore this hard rule? Probably almost all of them. Check your church, if your church allows a divorced person to remarry in your church, you are defying Jesus direct instruction, right? Or not?
Taking on Margaret Court’s literalism defend
- Margaret Court defends her anti-LGBT antique based on just 1 verse of Bible from the book of Genesis regarding the definition of marriage. Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” which is repeated by Jesus verbatim in Matthew 19:5. If she uses this literalism as “justification” to wrong gay marriage, she is doomed.
- Let us not forget (or intentionally ignore) another part of Bible: 1 Timothy 2:12. “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” That’s it, a woman preacher/pastor is forbidden in Bible. The context is spot-on. It was discussing Christian preaching and teaching. So, which one is Margaret Court? Bible illiterate or blatantly defying Bible?
- I actually can “hear” Margaret Court challenges me. How about Galatia 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Using literalism, this verse telling us that gender doesn’t matter, a woman can become a pastor. Really? That is out of context! Galatia 3:28 was a discussion about Salvation, not church leadership. The church leadership is correctly discussed in 1 Timothy 2:12.
- But, if one wants to take this verse out of context to justify woman leadership, then why not marriage definition from Genesis above?
Interpreted For Greater Good Cause
- Look, I got it. Bible interpretation is not straightforward. A lot of theology, context and greater-good consideration. That’s why don’t just take a literal text from Bible as your consideration. Not only can be misleading and dangerous, but it is also embarrassing for those who insists.
- Like the example above, discrimination against woman in the Bible did exist, but little will you hear it broadcast by any evangelical Pastor. And it is a good thing to do. Because it serves the greater good and adapts to the current situation where woman’s equality is a now a norm. So, if that can only mean omitting or ignoring few verses from Bible, then so be it. Why not? Just remember that the same argument and train of thought applies to same-sex marriage as well.
- To all woman in Christian Church leadership, I support you. I always encourage everybody (including a woman) to get to the top and be extraordinary. But in the term and context of Christian Bible, your place in the Church is based on some justification of a greater good cause. Not because what said in the Bible. So, never ever use literalism of Bible as your defend or justification. Use better argument. Don’t be like Margaret Court.
Margaret Court: “Marriage is between man and woman, it is in the Bible”
You: “Margaret, you are a woman, you should be quiet and cannot preach. it is in the Bible”
No, absolutely there is no requirement that one must support marriage equality. Also, having different of opinions is okay – even in this country of ours.
But, attack, vilification and inciting hatred to a specific segment of a community will never ever welcomed or tolerated. Actually, some of you, even who is not supporting LGBT community, could agree that Margaret Court’s behaviour above was unacceptable.
Then, add to the account Casey Dellacua. She was Court’s own “student” in the tennis world. But because of her sexual orientation, she received condemnation in public forum. Is this really acceptable in any standard? A mentor should support and help her mentoree, right? Sending a condemnation open letter to a newspaper is not supposed to be included.
So. Mrs Court ill-inspired act will affect the LGBT community. Specifically, children that are already in the community. Perhaps adding to the suicide rate, bullying and bashing that no one ever deserves.
“How much blood will be on Margaret’s hands because kids will continue to get beaten for being different? This is not OK,” Navratilova wrote in an open letter to Margaret Court Arena. “Too many will die by suicide because of this kind of intolerance, this kind of bashing and yes, this kind of bullying. This is not OK.”
It is hard to become a role-model
Remember Tiger Wood? This legendary golfer has mad golf skill. Countless title and achievement he earns from golf. But, it turns out, he was a womanizer-cheating husband. Recently, Wood also get arrested for driving under influence of (prescribed) drug – yes, it is not as bad as alcohol or prohibited drug, but nevertheless, he should not be driving. A bad example or role model for older and younger generation for sure.
Now, despite the main skill of golf, anyone now eager to be associated with Tiger Wood? Any golf club wanted to bear his name? Sponsor? Advertising with his face?
Yes, it is hard to be a role model. The achievement on the field is not enough. The whole life of the person is under big scrutiny.
At the end, the only one question you need to consider after all the presentation above is this:
Is Margaret Court still a role model you (or your children) can learn from?
Imagine this, you are holidaying with your family and read “Margaret Court Arena”, an iconic building, in front of you. What will your answer be to your kid’s question “Who is Margaret Court?”
It is now clear exactly who Court is: an amazing tennis player, and a racist and a homophobe. – Martina Navratilova, tennis legend
Alternatively,- even worse – tell your daughter, a keen tennis player: “Be like a Margaret Court who wins 24 Grand Slam titles, anti-gay, telling transgender children is ‘all the devil’, bullying her own student because she was gay but telling people she loves homosexual people regardless?” NOT!
A different opinion and view are good and who express it should never be prosecuted. But an ill-intention view that incites hatred and discriminatory should not get rewarded either, right?
So, Margaret Court? Tennis great, yes… but a role model? Now? definitely a “no”. Hence, the name of a great Australian sporting event, the ground of Australian Open of Tennis, need to be renamed.
FYI, Court also is still in denial. Polls show that around 65 per cent of Australians supports gay marriage. But Court said: “We know the statistics are very, very wrong.”
Good luck for Margaret when flying around in Australia as most airlines and big company in Australia supports marriage equality. And also, I will cheer in glee when Serena Williams overtake Courts records (2 more titles, Serena!) as the most Grand Slam title holder in history. dk#26b4e91b
Call for Action
- Sign the petition at change.org website!
Whether or not you support LGBT, I have shown you that Margaret Court cannot become a role model anymore. Hence, it is time to rename the International tennis arena in Melbourne Park with the name of another Australia Tennis’ great. And we do have a candidate Evonne Goolagong.
Sign the petition at change.org website.
- If you do support gay marriage equality, help our politician to decide: http://www.equalitycampaign.org.au/equalitynow.
- Buy a designer ring for only $3.5 (Free Shipping, all profit go to marriage equality campaign) (designed by Mark Newson, powered by Ebay, organised by AirBnB)
Thank you for reading.
— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) May 25, 2017
— Margaret Court Arena (@MCourtArena) May 25, 2017
Baun, Greg, Sydney Morning Herald, 31 May 2017. “‘The devil’s after our kids’: Margaret Court’s second serve.”
Butterfly, Nick. The West Australian. 2 June 2017. “Under fire, Margaret Court denies Martina Navratilova’s racist serve.”
Lampathakis, Paul, The Sunday Mail, 30 Jan 2012 “Row over tennis legend Margaret Court’s view that homosexuality is often the result of sexual abuse.”
Mills, Tammy. The Border Mail. “Margaret Court called out over gay beliefs.”
Nolan, Tanya. ABC/Reuters. 13 Jan 2012. “Tennis great accused of inciting gay hatred.”
Reuters, 12 Jan 2012 “Court in same-sex tennis furore.”
Sky News, 31 may 2017. “Court hits out at lesbians, trans people.”
Slink, Leo. Herald Sun. 1 Jun 2017. “Casey Dellacqua breaks silence on Margaret Court’s shocking 2013 article targeting her family.”