Left-wingers say no criticism of tennis player Serena Williams should be allowed for her high-profile meltdown Saturday at the 2018 women's U.S. Open final because she is a double-minority – female and black – and should therefore be immune to criticism.
National Organization for Women (NOW) President Toni Van Pelt launched into a fact-free rant.
“In what was a blatantly racist and sexist move, tennis umpire Carlos Ramos unfairly penalized Serena Williams in an abhorrent display of male dominance and discrimination. This would not have happened if Serena Williams was a man,” she said. “She would have been cheered and chided for ‘gamesmanship.’ Male tennis stars are reminding us that they have ‘done much worse’ and have not been penalized.”
Washington Post screed writer Sally Jenkins cried sexism, whining that a male tennis official "took what began as a minor infraction and turned it into one of the nastiest and most emotional controversies in the history of tennis, all because he couldn’t take a woman speaking sharply to him."
Ignoring the facts at hand, former tennis player Billie Jean King moaned about the unfairness of it all.
“When a woman is emotional, she’s ‘hysterical’ and she’s penalized for it,” King tweeted. “When a man does the same, he’s ‘outspoken’ and there are no repercussions. Thank you, Serena Williams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.”
Williams tried to cast herself as Susan B. Anthony.
“The fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions and that want to express themselves and they want to be a strong woman. They’re going to be allowed to do that because of today. Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person.”
In the victimology hierarchy, Williams, 36, appears to score slightly higher than the woman who beat her, Naomi Osaka, 20, who is half Japanese and half American. Her father, Leonard Francis, is a black man who was born in Haiti. Her mother, Tamaki Osaka, was born in Japan. It is unclear how far Francis’ lineage goes back in Haiti. Perhaps he has slave blood, or perhaps not, which matters in social justice weightings. Besides, it is often okay to discriminate against Asians, according to leftists, especially in the university admissions process, so Osaka’s lack of oppressed-race purity is her problem, not ours.
Trying to tie the all-time record for Grand Slam singles titles Sept. 8 at Arthur Ashe Stadium, in Queens, N.Y., Williams was taken down by her much younger opponent. Game officials penalized Williams for receiving coaching, smashing her racket, and accusing an umpire of lying, a particularly serious infraction.
The chair umpire, Carlos Ramos of Portugal, called a code violation against Williams because he saw her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, give her hand signals, a fact Mouratoglou admitted after the game. After her much younger rival beat her in one of the match’s games, Williams smashed her racket on the court and was fined for so doing. She vilified Ramos, calling him a thief and a liar and verbally abused the tour supervisor and the tournament referee. The U.S. Tennis Association fined Williams $17,000. It was not her finest hour.
Richard Ings, a professional chair umpire from 1986 to 1993, sided with Ramos.
He praised Williams as a player but then castigated her for breaking the rules.
Williams is the greatest female tennis player to ever play the game. Her playing record on the court is legendary. I can never truly appreciate the real sexism and racism that Williams will have absolutely faced in her life and career. Her iconic status speaking out on racism and sexism off the court is inspiring. She is a positive role model in every sense.
However, Williams faced neither sexism or racism in this grand slam final. We should not let her record, as glowing as it is, overshadow the fact that on this day, in this match Williams was wrong.
The decisions made by Ramos had nothing to do with sexism or racism. They had everything to do with observing clear breaches of the grand slam code of conduct and then having the courage to call them without fear or favour.
These violations by Williams are egregious and are not okay in the very proper tennis community.
Tennis is a polite sport. You’re not supposed to argue with the referees. The powers that be in the world of professional tennis hate it with a passion. Baseball umpires will tolerate a fair bit of abuse from players (Yankees manager Billy Martin, for example, famously had to throw dirt at umpires to incur their wrath) but those who make the calls in tennis will not. Impoliteness and aggressive disputatiousness are punished quickly and sometimes severely in tennis. There is no racial or sex-based bias. Mouth off at the umpire, throw a fit on the court, and you’re dealt with. It’s clean and fair. Period.
Perhaps the most famous American temper tantrum thrower on the tennis courts is John McEnroe. McEnroe’s rants were the stuff of legend but when the male Caucasian violated the rules of the game he was swiftly punished.
And this isn’t the first time Williams has lost her cool on the court.
In 2009 during a U.S. Open semifinal against Belgian Kim Clijsters, Williams freaked out over a line judge’s call that went against her. “If I could, I would take this f—–g ball and shove it down your f—–g throat!” she reportedly said. Earlier in the match she broke her racket. Williams lost the match for “unsportsmanlike conduct” and was fined $82,500. At a presser, Williams denied threatening the judge. “I’ve never been in a fight in my whole life, so I don’t know why she would have felt threatened.”
In 2011 Williams got especially ugly with an umpire at a U.S. Open final against Australian Samantha Stosur. As Time recalls:
After hitting a blistering forehand that looked as if it would elude her opponent, Williams yelled out a celebratory “Come on!” She celebrated too early, however — Stosur just touched the ball, putting into motion the hindrance rule, which is designed to prevent players from verbally interfering with an opponent’s ability to complete a point. The point went to Stosur and the crowd began to catcall as Williams, clad in a tomato-red tennis dress approached the umpire. “Aren’t you the one that screwed me over last time here? Yeah you are. Seriously, you have it out for me? I promise you, that’s not cool. That is totally not cool. I truly despise you.” The umpire was not in fact the same one who had presided over her 2009 match, but it didn’t stop Williams from continuing her outburst, pointing her racket at the official and haranguing her during a changeover later in the match. “‘If you ever see me walking down the hall, look the other way because you’re out of control,” she said. ‘You’re a hater and you’re unattractive inside.” Williams went on to lose the match.
It seems clear that Williams was the weaker player in the match this past weekend and that she couldn’t handle being beaten by a better, up-and-coming player about half her age. Them’s the breaks. Maybe it’s time for Williams to hang up her racket.
But a whiny post at CBS News shrieks that Williams’ “loss may be the grossest example of sports sexism yet.”
No matter how you think professional athletes should behave, Williams is right to be angry. Male players are often excused — celebrated, even — for putting their emotions on display in the heat of the moment. In fact, Ramos — the very same umpire who penalized Williams a game for calling him a "thief" and accusing him of lying — has tolerated similar, and arguably worse, outbursts from male players on numerous occasions.
The article proffers two examples of defiant rudeness male players Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal previously hurled at Ramos that supposedly went unpunished. But the examples are short on context which in this case is everything. It is no defense to a speeding ticket to claim that everyone else was going the same speed: you’re the one who got caught, so deal with it.
Besides, male tennis players are routinely punished when they violate the rules of their sport. To suggest otherwise is plain old dishonest.
But facts have never been important to the Left, so the myth that Williams was discriminated against will probably have a long life.