Women Athletes Tell The Supreme Court To Protect Their Rights

The Supreme Court of the United States will hear a Mississippi abortion case.

Women athletes are not going to be pushed around like Althea Gibson was by tennis officials in the 1940s. They are going to make their views known and more than 500 women athletes are using their voices and have told  the Supreme Court of the United States that they want the justices to protect women’s health rights when it comes to abortion in a Mississippi case. In a brief filed with the court, the women argue that “the physical tolls of forced pregnancy and childbirth would undermine athletes’ ability to actualize their full human potential”. As recently as last year, some sports fans were complaining that athletes, like children, should be seen and not heard. Those “some” people include members of the International Olympic Committee as that group does not want athletes to speak out on real world issues.

It has been assumed for decades that Billie Jean King was the first woman to address real world issues in the sports arena. Billie Jean King did indeed speak out in the 1960s but the first tennis player to bring up an injustice was Alice Marble who in 1950 advocated for Gibson to participate in major women’s tennis tournaments. Marble was a great player who was number one in the world from 1936 to 1940 but more importantly she addressed the tennis world’s segregation issue in 1950 and Gibson’s exclusion from major tournaments because she was a negro. “If tennis is a game for ladies and gentlemen, it’s also time we acted a little more like gentlepeople and less like sanctimonious hypocrites. If Althea Gibson represents a challenge to the present crop of women players, it’s only fair that they should meet that challenge on the courts.” Gibson, because of Marble’s intervention, was able to compete in major tournaments. Athletes should be heard.

Evan Weiner’s books are available at iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/author/evan-weiner/id595575191  

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)