Billie Jean King Wants to Chat on Equality with President Trump

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Billie Jean King Wants to Chat on Equality with President Trump

Tennis - American tennis legend Billie Jean King says she would like to have a chance to talk about equality with US President Donald Trump in the wake of US soccer star Megan Rapinoe's decision to decline any potential invite to visit the White House in case the United States win the Women's World Cup.

Speaking in London, King says, "Everyone has a choice, she [Rapinoe] has a choice. Maybe some of the others would want to go. Personally, if I were on that team I would want us to go as a team or not go as a team. That’s the way I would try to lead.

But I still think if a person doesn’t want to go, that is their right, because that is what makes America strong and other countries strong — freedom of expression, that’s our first amendment, right? You don’t have to agree with each other, you can still be kind and good to each other and not agree.

That means she’s [Rapinoe] trying to move things forward. Sometimes you have to go almost radical for anyone to go ‘oh’ and pay attention”. King has long been a pioneer about women's rights and played an instrumental role in the movement when she beat American Bobby Riggs in a Battle of the Sexes match in 1973.

“If I could have a chat about it I would probably want to talk to him. Any time you have a chance to meet this person and have a discussion I think is always good. Even if they are diametrically opposed in their philosophies.

I always think it’s good to listen to people who are not like yourself. You don’t have to agree. If I can help him see what I see and he’s going to want me to see what he sees and maybe we shift a little. That’s negotiation, that’s leadership, that’s the things you have to go through.

The first one was with us back in the early 70s, there was a lot of excitement about women’s tennis and other sports started to get a little more excited, golf grew up even more. But women’s team sports are what matters, too.

A lot. That’s in its infancy. You have to understand — you need equal investment, equal enthusiasm, equal everything. If you don’t have all these ingredients it’s not going to happen. We’re so young.

Just to try to envision how much better the talent pool is in say women’s football than it was 20 years ago”.