View Full Version : Tennis great Navratilova endorses gay travel company

Mar 25th, 2005, 03:34 AM
Tennis great Navratilova endorses gay travel company (http://www.sportsline.com/tennis/story/8323112)

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Martina Navratilova agreed to endorse a travel company for lesbians Thursday, hoping the deal will encourage acceptance of gays.

"Anytime you raise awareness, you're helping the issue," Navratilova said. "People are uncomfortable with what they don't know. Once you put a face on it and make it personal, it changes things."

The only other athlete sponsored by the company, Olivia, is golfer Rosie Jones, who announced her deal a year ago and simultaneously disclosed she's a lesbian.

Navratilova's homosexuality was revealed in a newspaper story in 1981, and she acknowledged that many gay athletes remain reluctant to discuss their sexual orientation.

"People still think they will lose endorsements," Navratilova said. "For some it's an issue of not wanting to call attention to that. One day I hope it will not matter. That's the goal."

When asked how much endorsement money being gay has cost her, Navratilova said, "Who cares? It's millions of dollars, but so what?"

Navratilova, 49, is playing doubles at the Nasdaq-100 Open. Her 167 singles titles are the most of any player, and the deal with Olivia is her first with a company aimed exclusively at gays.

"This is a real dream come true for this company," Olivia founder Judy Dlugacz said. "How great it is to have someone who can just say, `I'm so comfortable being a lesbian, it's not the main issue I have to work on.' It's such a rarity still today."

San Francisco-based Olivia was founded in 1973 and has focused on travel for the past 15 years, arranging more than 70 cruises. The ships have no tennis courts, but Navratilova said that doesn't bother her.

"I just want to hit some golf balls off the deck," she said.

Mar 25th, 2005, 04:16 AM
There's a hookup you'd have expected long ago.

Mar 25th, 2005, 04:20 AM
Martina cares who she endorses. That's a good thing.

She wants the money, for sure, but she is not for sale to just anyone.

Didn't she turn down a "got milk" advert cos she doesn't eat dairy products?

Even though endorsors haven't exactly beat a path to her door, when there are cute hetero starlets to peddle their wares, it's good to see someone who is mindful from an ideological standpoint which product her name is associated with.