Tennis Australia Scolds Navratilova, McEnroe For Margaret Court Sign
Tennis Australia admonished Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe for "unveiling a banner calling for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed in Evonne Goolagong's honour," according to Scott Spits of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Court, who has been "widely criticised for her opposition to same-sex marriage and views on transgender people," was recognized earlier this week at the Australian Open to mark the 50th anniversary of her calendar Grand Slam win. Navratilova and McEnroe "walked from the court holding a banner with rainbow-coloured writing that said: 'Evonne Goolagong Arena.'" Tennis Australia in a statement noted they "embrace diversity, inclusion and the right for people to have a view, as well as their right to voice that view." However, the statement continued, "The Australian Open has regulations and protocols with respect to how any fan, player or guest can use our facility, the event and the global stage it provides. This is to ensure the integrity of our event" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 1/29). THE AUSTRALIAN's Courtney Walsh notes the protest "occurred after Navratilova had played a legends doubles match on the court." At the completion, she "jumped into the umpires chair to discuss the concerns raised in her letter to a small crowd in attendance." The transmission to the court was "cut off on the infancy of her speech before McEnroe ... joined her on the court" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 1/29). The banner was "painted in aboriginal style by Navratilova;" Goolagong is of aboriginal descent (BBC.com, 1/28).
NO DISCIPLINE FORTHCOMING: In London, Stuart Fraser reports Tennis Australia held discussions "to consider whether McEnroe and Navratilova should be punished by having their accreditation passes removed," though it was decided that move "would exacerbate the situation." McEnroe is an analyst for ESPN, while Navratilova works for Tennis Channel. There has been "increased criticism" in recent day from both concerning Court's controversial views (London TIMES, 1/28).