[On April 15-17, the United States will be playing South Africa in a Davis Cup tennis match at Newport Beach, California]
by Committee to Stop the Davis Cup
California, United States
March or early April 1977
The statement says the U.S. team, which has been selected on the basis of merit, will be playing a South African team, which has been selected on the basis of race. South African sport has been increasingly isolated in international matches as a result of their discriminatory policies, and this match allows South Africa to maintain a tenuous lifeline to the outside world and be encouraged not to alter its policies. There has been controversy as to whether the South African government has actually altered its discriminatory sports policies. South Africa has waged a well-financed public relations campaign. Through carefully selected photographs and texts which give the appearance that black and white South Africans now compete against each other in all sports, they have created a benign image that racism is no longer tolerated in South African sport. Their ads state "if somebody tells you that progress isn't being made in South African sport you can tell them they're ignorant of the real facts." However, interracial sports competition within South Africa at the club or provincial level is forbidden by the government, so there is no possibility for judging the ability of black and white athletes or for developing racially mixed teams selected on merit. Leaders of non-racial sporting bodies, which advocate open competition without racial restriction, have been arrested, detained, banned, censored and harassed by the government. Also, many have been refused visas to travel abroad in order to prevent them from appearing before international sporting bodies. International sporting associations have not been fooled by these cosmetic changes; South Africa has been barred from participating in the Olympic Games since 1968, and, as recently as July 1976, South Africa was expelled from all international competition in soccer (even though South Africa had put together a 'multinational' national squad), track and field, and swimming. We urge Americans and their sporting associations to go on record in support of ending all sports contact with South Africa and to protest and boycott the upcoming Davis Cup tennis match. This event, which is designed in part to bring the people of the world closer together, will unfortunately symbolize the denial of the basic principles of fair play and sportsmanship.
Collection: Private collection of Robert Edgar