The dangers of renaming Margaret Court Arena | Titus O'Reily

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The dangers of renaming Margaret Court Arena

Tennis legend Billie Jean King has recently added her voice to calls to change the name of Margaret Court Arena.  

It’s a growing sentiment that threatens to overshadow this year’s Australian Open. However, advocates for the change seem oblivious to the slippery slope it would place us on.

To begin with, such a change would significantly impinge on the Australian tradition of forgiving sportspeople no matter what they do or say.

What next? Not offering AFL players jobs at their former clubs, just because they went to jail for stalking and repeatedly breaching a restraining order against an ex-partner?

What a dangerous path we tentatively step on.

Furthermore, beyond sportspeople, such a move would be a blow to everyone’s right to hold horrible, damaging views.

It’s all part of a sustained attack on free speech in this country.

As I learnt in school, the right to free speech is enshrined in the Australian Bill of Rights.

If Margaret’s name is removed from this stadium, her voice would be almost completely silenced, limited to just every single media outlet in the country.

And what are these ‘extreme views’ Margaret has expressed anyway?

Her critics cite when she once got up at a prayer breakfast at Parliament House and yelled, ‘Homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord! Abortion is an abomination to the Lord!’ but who hasn’t done that?

People in glass houses is all I’m saying.

I guess she did say tennis is full of lesbians and that LGBT tendencies in young people were ‘all the devil’.

I admit that’s a bit hard to justify that stuff, but it probably made more sense in context.

There was that time she praised South Africa’s apartheid regime saying, “South Africans have this thing better organised than any other country, particularly America.”

I’ll admit, ‘this thing’ is a bit ominous there. It sounds a bit like she’s referring to having Africans in your country is a problem you have to manage. Luckily, that sort of misinformed public debate about African people would never occur here in Australia.

I will concede it is a bit hard to justify naming something after someone who supported apartheid.

Still, we have to weigh that up against all those times she hit a ball over a net better than anyone else.

Surely, with all those victories, we can agree to turn a blind eye to all that pro-apartheid, ‘LGBT tendencies are the devil's work’ stuff.

The key question in all of this, is, do we really want to end up in a country where people who repeatedly say racist and homophobic things can no longer have public places named after them?

Is this the type of society we want? Some nightmarish nanny state where everyone gets a fair go regardless of their race or sexuality? 

Buy Titus' A Thoroughly Unhelpful History of Australian Sport through and get it signed.


Paul Graham 13 January 2018

WTF? Surely you are taking the piss when you say 'the right to free speech is enshrined in the Australian Bill of Rights'. Which Bill of Rights would this be? Can you point me to it?

Longy 13 January 2018

You know this is satire

Muz 13 January 2018

Pretty sure that's a joke.

CWC 13 January 2018

Titus O'Reily is 100% satire.

Jack Williams 13 January 2018

Oh ...No No No ! ..... Paul, are you related to Billy perhaps ? .... and for what it's worth, Titus would never "take the piss", when has he EVER been accused of that ?

Halfabrain 14 January 2018

Paul Graham you peanut !

Paul Graham 13 January 2018

WTF? Surely you are taking the piss when you say 'the right to free speech is enshrined in the Australian Bill of Rights'. Which Bill of Rights would this be? Can you point me to it?

Jason 13 January 2018

You must be new here...

Michael m 13 January 2018

Ummmm this is satire so yeah he is kind of taking the piss

Murray Johnson 13 January 2018

You’re on the money as always T.O.
Why overturn 200 years of tradition every time someone wants change for change’s sake? Straya is a democracy... the majority rules... not minorities. Next the do-gooders will be equating test cricket sledging with unsportsmanlike bullying and expecting every million dollar sport star to set a good example to our kids! Margaret Court is as Australian as Rolf Harris and just as deserving of respect and public monuments no matter what she’s said or done.

mark 15 January 2018

This is the funniest comment I have ever read about anything. Even funnier than the post that inspired it.

Max Wines 13 January 2018

@Paul. You’re kidding aren’t you?

Racquet Human 13 January 2018

Being a genderless society we should just remove all gender identifiers from the stadiums. This would rename the AO stadiums as Court Arena & Laver Arena. That should satisfy those who don't believe in gender and at the same time Pissoff those who do. That's a win win in their book isn't it?

G 13 January 2018

Nice idea. Then they could play on the Court court.

Pablo 13 January 2018

I think she also went on about the Wages of sin being death or something, once again though, who doesn't have these little slip ups from time to time?

Pborsm 13 January 2018

Misinformed public debate. I yearn for the day this is an Olympic Sport and Australia can finally give the Russians, USA and China a run for the money every 4 years.

On the money again Titus

Pat 13 January 2018

Poor Titus. Australia's greatest tennis champion deserves better research and a more accurate representation than you have given them. She holds a traditional view that most of her generation continue to (and you likely held for some of your life). You have more in common with this fellow Aussie than you do difference. You are merely setting your sails to the progressive wind of the past few years and taking a cheap shot. Love your work usually but this falls short.

Snert Underpant 13 January 2018

I just ran out of sleeping tablets. Can you write some more stuff?

Michael Graham 13 January 2018

well said

Veritas 13 January 2018

You notice when satire fails- when it is just an echo chamber of the wisdom of the elites. Next thing you will be calling for her to be burned at the stake- you would have been an excellent judge at the salem witch trials.

Huntsman 13 January 2018

C’mon Paul Graham, you must know the Bill of Rights that Hoges carved in to a crocs hide with his knife and then dragged from the outback to the Etamogah Pub to hang above the bar in 1983 that we all live by? Ring any bells?

Paul Graham 15 January 2018

Now you're just confusing me. Don't get any satisfaction from it, it's not like it's hard to do. Ettamogah Pub, Hoges, Knives... WTF does this have to do with the Hunchback of Notre Dame?

GregBB 13 January 2018

Does MC remind you of the lady character in the Far Side comic strips by Gary Larson?

Michael’s 13 January 2018

Can’t we name it after a real hero? No more “Margaret Court Court!” It should be the “Tina Arena Arena!”

Glenn 13 January 2018

They should just call it Margaret Court. Plausible deniability people.

Stinky Fartnuckle 13 January 2018

I for one, refuse to live in a country where one needs read an article to understand whether it is satire or ...not satire before I leave judgemental comments! You sir are piss-taking cockmuppet. Good day!

Bill O'Rites 13 January 2018

Thanks Titus. I recommend that your readers study that great Aussie document "The Bill of Rights of the Commonweath of Australia." It's short and straight to the point. Basically it explains that politicians, bankers, judges, mining magnates, writers, scientists, artists, overpaid CEO's, sports commentators and umpires are all fair game. But any sporting hero is off limits, regardless of any inglorious act or utterance. Thanks for the timely reminder, Titus. You, my friend, are a true Australian - and the greatest teacher on how to take the piss.

Fran 14 January 2018

Have you heard the old saying "sarcasm is lost on fools and children"?

Paul Graham 15 January 2018

No Fran,

I haven't. Can you point me to some sort of document about it?

Paul Graham 15 January 2018

No Fran,

I haven't. Can you point me to some sort of document about it?

Kate 15 January 2018

'...but it probably made more sense in context.'

Isn't context a great thing! It's like WD40 for xenophobia, it's brilliant. If all the PC nanny-state enablers would just stop taking everyone's hate speech OUT of context, there'd be no problem whatsoever.

Love your work, Mr O'Reily! Bang on the money as usual.

John 18 January 2018

Stay fisty otherwise many will be subsumed by appeasing political correctness. In Rwanda they agreed to forgive to move forward after their most recent genocide. The gay plague really did happen in western countries. Ms Court exposed the real paradigms of human inequality in South Africa & USA. .Changing names of arenas or national days without vigorous debate will weaken Australia.

Frosty of Collingwood 22 January 2018

We've had several Bills of Right in Australia - Snedden, McMahon, Heffernan, come quickly to mind.

Timmy La 18 February 2018

"Who hasnt done that"

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