Tennis Star Martina Navratilova Wants Arena Renamed After Traditional Marriage Controversy

Martina Navratilova wants Melbourne's Margaret Court arena renamed over the Australian tennis player's opposition to same-sex marriage
© AFP/File John GURZINSKI

The sports world in Australia is still roiling after famed Aussie tennis player Margaret Court criticized same-sex marriage. Now, gay tennis player Martina Navratilova is demanding that the City of Melbourne rename its sports arena named after Court.

Navratilova, who came out as a lesbian after she was outed as bisexual in the 1980s, wrote an open letter urging the city of Melbourne to change the name of its Court Arena. The facility is named after Margaret Court, the holder of a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles earned during her tennis career during the 1960s and 70s.

Controversy arose last week when the 74-year-old Court, who is now a Christian pastor, made comments critical of Qantas Airlines because the company “has become an active promoter for same-sex marriage,” ESPN reports.

After her comments, the sports community in Australia became embroiled in condemnation of Court’s comments, even though she has been an open critic of gay marriage for decades.

Navratilova attacked Court for her views and said she was trying to take away people’s rights. She then demanded that the arena stop honoring Court by naming its facilities after her despite her still-unsurpassed athletic record.

“When you were named after Margaret Court, it seemed like the right thing to do,” Navratilova wrote in her open letter to Court Arena. “After all, Rod Laver already had the big stadium, and Court is one of the all-time greats. I had long ago forgiven Court for her headline-grabbing comments in 1990 when she said I was a bad role model because I was a lesbian.”

“It is now clear exactly who Court is: an amazing tennis player, and … a homophobe. Her vitriol is not just an opinion. She is actively trying to keep LGBT people from getting equal rights (note to Court: we are human beings, too). She is demonizing trans kids and trans adults everywhere,” Navratilova added.

“We should not be celebrating this kind of behavior,” the former number one ranked player insisted.

Another Aussie tennis player agreed with Navratilova but went a step further to urge players to boycott any match scheduled for Court Arena. 2011 U.S. Open winner Sam Stosur, said, “I think everyone can have their opinion. I don’t agree with it. But I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we all get down to the Australian Open next year — and who wants to play on Margaret Court Arena and who doesn’t. And we’ll go from there.”

Clearly, as far as Navratilova and Stosur are concerned, someone’s achievements in any particular field should be invalidated if they don’t agree with the left’s political opinions.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.

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