On Friday, on the 40th anniversary of the “Battle of the Sexes” match that female Billie Jean King won over male Bobby Riggs, the White House screened a PBS documentary about King that made no mention that Riggs may have rigged the match.
— Valerie Jarrett (@vj44) September 20, 2013
ESPN’s Don Van Natta presented strong circumstantial evidence that Riggs may have thrown the match to pay off gambling debts to mobsters or to seek a bigger payday in a rematch.
But in PBS’s “American Masters” movie about King, who was the first sports figure the series has ever profiled, PBS does not even mention that Riggs was known as someone who often tanked matches and was a compulsive gambler and hustler.
Instead, the documentary furthers the narrative and reveals why the the mainstream press, and especially the institutional left, do not want to even want to challenge it. The movie quotes King as saying she had always been “dedicated to equal rights and opportunity and I knew tennis would be a platform.”
Hillary Clinton talks about King as an “activist” and speaks about Title IX, which King said may have been weakened had she lost to Riggs. King says she was “scared to death” she would be responsible for weakening Title IX. Gloria Steinem and Valerie Jarrett are also interviewed.
There are quotes in the movie, though, that can have some double-meanings in light of the exhaustive ESPN report titled, “The Match Maker: Bobby Riggs, The Mafia and The Battle of the Sexes.”
In another archival clip, King says of Riggs, “he hustles off the court and I hustle on the court.”
In another pre-game interview in the documentary, King says, “we’re also making money for him, so it’s kind of like a marriage.”