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Were John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova wrong protesting Margaret Court?

 

When I read the tweet I embedded below, two names came to my mind:

  1. Former Wallabies star, Israel Folau
  2. former Australian tennis great, Margaret Court.

 

OK, so this year does mark fifty years since Court’s historic 1970 Grand Slam win.

Her achievements should be acknowledged. Then, we can let her go to live the rest of her life.

That was too much to ask. On Wednesday, Czech – American former tennis player Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe were condemned after breaching security protocol by sThey were protesting to change the name of Margaret Court Arena.

After a public outcry and condemnation from Tennis Australia, Navratilova and McEnroe have both apologised for their conduct.

Reaction from the media

Of course, Newscorp columnists were all over it. Andrew Bolt accused Navratilova and McEnroe of being “intolerant” and Rita Panahi slammed them as “bullies”.

I’m surprised that the reaction hasn’t been more extreme. I’m surprised that no one has slammed LGBTQ+ people or blamed same – sex marriage, (then again, Sky News Australia’s Outsiders hasn’t started yet).

The Guardian Australia published a piece arguing that it’s Margaret Court should be the one to apologise.

 

Navratilova and McEnroe had the right to protest. Navratilova in particular, had a stake in the debate, being a married gay woman. Maybe they shouldn’t have jumped onto the court itself, though.

However, I do cringe at what they’ve done. As I have said on other occasions, too many LGBTQ+ protesters and allies don’t do LGBTQ+ causes any favours. We’re lucky that things hasn’t heat up too much.

Should conservatives just suck it up?

Security breach is something I don’t support. Aside from that, people do have a right to protest.

 

This isn’t the first time that calls have been made to rename Margaret Court Arena. During the same – sex marriage debate, the calls to rename it started and name it after Evonne Goolagong Cawley.

The debate has been going on since the same – sex marriage debate, when Court publicly opposed same – sex marriage and made controversial comments about  transgender children.

Since then, Court has been painted as a victim by conservative commentators. Critics of Court, Israel Folau and others have been endlessly condemned as ‘bullies’. People have even said that this is why the same – sex marriage ‘yes’ vote should not have gotten up. People were ‘warned’ about the ‘consequences’ of same – s3x marriage.

 

For the most part, I think these commentators use the  term ‘bully’ too liberally. While bullying, such as what happened to Wilson Gavin do occur, conservatives tend to equate disagreement, or in this case, protest, as bullying. That’s what they often accuse the Left of doing.

I want to reiterate, I don’t necessarily agree with what McEnroe and Navratilova did or how they went about it. Yet, it was their protest. Which I guess is their right while they’re here. Right?

 

I really hoped that 2020 could be the year where the culture wars would die down But they won’t. The battle will rage on.

What do you think of Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe protest against Margaret Court? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

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Opinion/Commentary

Should businesses and government departments get out of the same – sex marriage debate?

Canva images: lawyer, doctor and Quantas plane
Images: Canva

Today, Andrew Bolt criticised supporters of same – sex marriage and the Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, the ACT government, the Australian Medical Association, the ABC and the NSW Law Society for publicly campaigning for same – sex marriage.

In the past, Air b’n’b and Qantas has also been slammed for pushing for same – sex marriage.

This makes me raise a question: should councils, law firms and businesses get involved in political debate? On any issue: gay marriage, climate change, Recognition, etc? What if, as it’s the case with Qantas, the CEO is LGBTQ+ themselves?

Bullying is wrong. Full stop. I pointed that out yesterday.  That aside, there seems to be a push on both sides to limit or stifle debate, to be honest. One of the main arguments that businesses and councils should not be involved in these debates or taking sides is that the customers have a range of political views. In regards to the AMA, the clash is internal, with the organisation being criticised for false claims by some members regarding same – sex marriage and parents. However,  I have to say that I exposed one of the studies Bolt’s cited last year; Mark Regenerus, supposedly the largest study on same – sex families and its impact on children. However, even he admitted to Focus on the Family; a conservative organisation who promoted his findings that his findings actually didn’t prove same – sex families were worse for children.

Qantas has been a target by conservatives, most recently former tennis great and now Pentecostal pastor, Margaret Court who wrote a letter to The West Australian newspaper, threatening to boycott the airline ‘where possible’ because of their vocal support for same – sex marriage.

Now, the Sydney Council is under fire for allegedly supporting the “Yes” campaign financially, but not the ‘no’ case.

So, my question is: should corporations or governments get involved in any contentious political debate? Climate change? Safe Schools? Aboriginal Recognition? The asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru?

 

It’s not only Australia that companies have been under fire for their corporate stance on same – sex marriage. In 2014, Atlanta – based chicken sandwich franchise, Chick – a – fil – a caused controversy when the CEO, Dan Cathy vocally opposed same – sex marriage. He ended up backtracking kind of – not from his opinion that same – sex marriage was wrong, but by promising to refrain from expressing it publicly in the future.

Either the backlash against Qantas, Air B’n’B, the Sydney Council, the AMA and Chick – a – fil – a is justified or it’s not. Either CEO’s and companies can support political causes or it can’t.

Another thing, if a company, council or medical organisation ever does take a political stance, it’s going to have it’s opponents, regardless of the issue or side. Is this allowed or should everyone should be left with their individual views, with the company itself being neutral? I think it’s great when companies support the LGBTQ+ community or  Aboriginal people —the AFL is a great example of this — aiming to promote inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community and people from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background. Pushing a political cause though? I”m not sure.

 

What I do think is that all companies and brands should be held to the same standard. If Qantas for example shouldn’t publicly campaign for same – sex marriage, then a company shouldn’t campaign against it. Companies on both sides, I think, should show impartiality. Because, hey, some of their customers may be LGBTQ+ and/ or support same – sex marriage.

Should companies remain out of political debate? Share what you think.