Greg Cote

Random Evidence returns from hiatus with a lambaste of Margaret Court batting leadoff

Tennis great Margaret Court (L) counts Martina Navratilova (R) among those angered by Court’s outspokenness against equal rights for gays.
Tennis great Margaret Court (L) counts Martina Navratilova (R) among those angered by Court’s outspokenness against equal rights for gays. Corriere.it

For many years ending in 2015 I penned a popular Sunday notes column called “Random Evidence of a Cluttered Mind.” Today, in a new form and on an occasional basis, Random returns after a two-year hiatus with a mixture of serious and fun across all sports:

TENNIS' ALL-TIME EMBARRASSMENT: Margaret Court won 24 majors in the 1960s and '70s, still one more than Serena Williams for the most ever, woman or man. The second-biggest stadium at the Australian Open is named Margaret Court Arena in her honor. By any definition, she's an all-time great in her sport. But by some other opinion, including this one, she has become an all-time embarrassment for tennis. At 74, and now an ordained Pentecostal minister in Perth, she has chosen to live her later years as an outspoken, strident, bigoted bullhorn against LGBT rights, even threatening to boycott Qantas airlines over its perceived "corporate support of gay marriage." The Australian Open has resisted growing calls to strip Court's name from its stadium, from Martina Navratilova to Andy Murray, claiming the title honors her tennis career only. No. It honors Margaret Court, who has sullied her good name all on her own with her blatant, hurtful prejudice and homophobic fight against the basic equal rights of so many. Sports, a pillar of diversity, must stand against her hatred, because conscience and heart have never required the law of the land to know what feels right. Change the name of that stadium!

HEAT MOCK DRAFTS: Thursday night's NBA Draft, when the betting over/under on TV facetime for LaVar Ball is "way, way too much" (and I'd bet the over), finds Duke guard Luke Kennard the pick for Miami 14th overall in Sports Illustrated's latest mock draft. NBA.com's consensus mock has the Heat selecting Indiana small forward OG Anunoby. I'm still thinking size for Miami -- replacing Chris Bosh with a big to pair with Hassan Whiteside. Somebody like Gonzaga center Zach Collins, Wake Forest power forward John Collins or -- oh what an exquisite gamble this might be -- Duke hybrid Harry Giles, who'd be grand larceny at 14 if his knees pass medical tests.

PANTHERS' BIG GAMBLE: In Wednesday's NHL expansion draft the Vegas Golden Knights will raid other teams' unprotected lists for one player each, and Florida will have itself to blame if it loses center Jonathan Marchessault, who should have been protected. He is 26, is on a favorable contract and last season became the Cats' first 30-goal scorer since 2008-09. Dumb-dumb-dumb for a team that ranked 23rd in scoring to risk losing him. If they do, one more reason to explore prying disgruntled star Alex Ovechkin from Washington in a trade. Ovechkin loves Miami, and ESPN.com this month named Florida one of five viable possible suitors. Make it happen and the Panthers would have 1,323 combined career goals in Jaromir Jagr and Ovechkin, who'd be Cats' most bona fide goal threat since Pavel Bure circa 1999-01.

U.S. OPEN WINNER LESS INTERESTING THAN GIRLFRIEND: Brooks Koepka, 16-under par to win golf's U.S. Open on Sunday, was born in West Palm Beach and lives just north in Jupiter, his major win vaulting him from 22nd to 10th in the World Golf Ranking. More notable (to me): Koepka's girlfriend is actress Jena Sims, whose many notable screen credits include "Attack Of the 50-Foot Cheerleader" (2012) and "3-Headed Shark Attack" (2015).

THE MARLINS' HOME RUN: Fish were on a nifty 10-2 run at Marlins Park (outscoring opponents by 77-37) entering Monday night's start of this 10-game homestand -- that right after a season-killing 1-8 homestand in May. Call this the sexist Marlins homestand in memory, with visits from the NL East-power Nationals, reigning champion Cubs, then division-rival Mets. Miami if it dominates rest of this month will have a renewed shot to climb up over. 500 by All-Star Break.

BIG YEARS FOR CANES' BIG 2?: Happy days for UM's two biggest teams? These aren't major "official" polls, but ESPN.com's post-spring practice Top 25 in football has Miami No 15, and nd a CBS Sports preseason men's basketball ranking has the Canes No. 11. Trouble for Mark Richt's guys is that nemesis Florida State and natty champ Clemson are ACC roadblocks. Jim Larranaga's troops may be closer to contending, with a 21-11 team returning six of eight top scorers and infused with a top-10 recruiting class led by five-star prospect Lonnie Walker.

QUICK HITS: There are only two kinds of people right now regarding the Aug. 26 Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight. Those who are really looking forward to it. And those who turn a snooty nose up at such a "farce" but will watch anyway ..... Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo threatens to leave Real Madrid because the Spanish government is chasing him for tax evasion. Surprised Real fans haven't started a GoFundMe to pay what he owes ..... Jim Harbaugh wants the Obamas to be honorary captains at a Michigan game this fall. Cannot confirm Trump has signed an executive order banning honorary captains ..... Answer: The Saskatchewan Roughriders just cut comeback-attempting Vince Young. Question: What is the final indication your football career is truly over? ..... Roger Goodell started to say he didn't think unsigned Colin Kaepernick was being blackballed or ostracized, but then the braying national laughter drowned out the end of his sentence ..... The Reds unveiled a Pete Rose statue depicting his iconic headfirst slide. You could tell it's life-like, because there are betting tickets flying out his rear uniform pocket.

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