Discrimination & Morality
Monday 22nd March 1965
On this day in 1965, it was reported in the local press that former tennis player, Mr H.W. “Bunny” Austin spoke out over the problem concerning top young British amateurs in the game, saying they would normally apply to move up to professional status, but he has been reliably informed they can make more money, if they stay as amateurs.
He called this ‘shamateurism’ and went on to say that it was not possible in his day to earn a living at the game as an amateur, so to do so, he said, you had to turn professional.
Unfortunately, as the professional game relies on the influx of new blood this has meant that the British talent that would normally rise to the top doesn’t.
“The All-England Club was in the van of those who wanted to throw tournaments open to amateurs and professionals alike and agrees that ‘shamateurism’ is gross hypocrisy and I agree with them”, Mr Austin said.
However, he added;
“There is discrimination in the All-England Club, I happen to know it because I suffer from it today,
“I served in the United States Air Force during the war and was also publicly identified with Moral Re-Armament, as I am today.
“During the war I failed to pay my subscriptions. When I mentioned this to a former team mate he said, ‘who didn’t?’
“However as a result my membership was terminated and on my re-applying I was not reinstated.
“Some suggest my loss of membership is due to my identification with Moral Re-Armament.”
Mr Austin is a former British Davis Cup player who twice played in the Wimbledon finals.
This may have played some part in why it took the Brits so long to win Wimbledon after Fred Perry in 1936. It fails to mention in the piece that Mr Austin was a Conscientious Objector and although was enrolled in the US Airforce as a private did not see active service.
What interested me about this particular piece of news though, was the mention of ‘moral re-armament.’ I had not heard of the term before, so decided to do some research on the matter. It turns out it was a movement that was set up by a Mr Frank Buchman an American Minister in 1938 in response to the massive re-armament taking place in Europe at the time, which concerned him greatly, he insisted,
“the crisis is a moral one.”
“The nations must re-arm morally. Moral recovery is essentially the forerunner of economic recovery. Moral recovery creates not crisis but confidence and unity in every phase of life.”
During the forthcoming World War, many people who joined his movement, Mr Austin being one, joined up and strove to heighten morale and eradicate any bottlenecks that slowed down necessary progress. These were normally due to greed, rivalries and power. This was highlighted in a speech given by Senator Harry Truman in 1943 who commended the group stating, “… this is where the Moral Re-Armament group comes in. Where others have stood back and criticised, they have rolled up their sleeves and gone to work. They have already achieved remarkable results in bringing teamwork into industry, on the principles not of ‘who’s right’ but of ‘what’s right’.”
In Nazi Germany the group was banned and in Norway group members faced imprisonment.
After the allied invasion of Europe a 126 page dossier was found on the group and its founder. It said that the group “had taken up a frontal position against National Socialism.”
Although not as well known today, the movement has changed its name to ‘Initiatives of Change’ and currently works closely with the United Nations amongst others.
Mr Austin went on to write a book about the movement.