aside The Serena Williams Controversy At 9/8/18 US Open Tennis Match

Serena Williams tutu
SERENA WILLIAMS/ GETTY IMAGES

Right off the bat, I confess to a bias on behalf of Serena Williams. She’s want I wish my granddaughter to aspire to emulate, someone who belies the odds to become all that she was meant to be, not constrained by what others want her to be or to act like, as a female. She is an athlete par excellence, a fighter, assertive, strong and a decent, honorable role model.

By now, most peoples who follow the news have learned that  Serena Williams argued with the umpire Carlos Ramos during the recent women’s singles final match against Naomi Osaka at the US Open. It is admittedly true that my hero acted emotionally and unrestrained on this occasion. It is also true that the umpire was overly harsh in delivering the penalty of a lost point at the worst possible time in the game.

Naomi Osaka of Japan poses with the championship trophy after winning the Women's Singles finals match against Serena Williams of the United States on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
Naomi Osaka of Japan poses with the championship trophy after winning the Women’s Singles finals match against Serena Williams of the United States on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis CenterGetty Images

Here’s what I perceive to be true. Serena Williams was coached from the sidelines with a signal that was obvious, (but which probably she didn’t see), however, it is also true that this happens frequently in tennis matches without the offenders being penalized. It is true that Serena Williams reacted badly to having called out on this by calling the umpire a “thief,” but others have said lots worse without having been censured.  After she called the umpire a “thief” and a “liar,” she accused him of sexism which has a ring of truth to it.

As per the 9/9/18 Eurosport report by Dan Quarrell,”Ramos sent Williams into a further rage when he handed the 23-time Grand Slam champion a game penalty for the verbal abuse.”

“Serena Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, has admitted that he was making hand gestures after she was hit by a coaching violation in the controversial US Open final won by Naomi Osaka 6-2 6-4.”

“(Coach Patrick) Mouratoglou later admitted that he was coaching but added that it was not uncommon and that his opposite number, Osaka’s coach Sascha Bajin, was doing the same.”

” I am honest. I was coaching. I don’t think she looked one time. Sascha was coaching every point too.”

It is my opinion, that the athlete Serena Williams, who had worked incredibly hard for this moment, paid a much higher price than she should have at the hands of this umpire. She was penalized an entire game which made it impossible for her to get her mojo back to give her all to the game. At the point of the penalties, she was losing but not where she couldn’t come back as she has done in numerous occasions in the past.

SerBill

In the end, she did recover enough to graciously congratulate the winner, as she lost the match in straight sets to 20-year-old Naomi Osaka.

In summary, Serena Williams said the incident was a case in point of the glaring double standards according to which male and female tennis players are judged, and I concur with her.

See: The French Open’s Serena Williams catsuit ban exposes tennis’s … – Vox

But however, her fans or detractors come down on what happened at the US open, the following racist cartoon is out of bounds.

CARLOS RAMOS/ SERENA WILLIAMS

Here’s the rest of the story…

On September 10, 2018, Michelle Garcia of VOX penned the following report, “A new editorial cartoon shows yet another racist depiction of Serena Williams”

An Australian newspaper ran a nasty editorial cartoon on Monday, attempting to capture the fallout of the contentious US Open women’s final that ended in controversy over the weekend.

Herald-Sun cartoonist Mark Knight’s image shows a monstrous, hulking depiction of Serena Williams stomping her racket into the ground. A discarded pacifier lies nearby, as if Williams is a toddler throwing a tantrum. In the background, umpire Carlos Ramos asks her opponent, Naomi Osaka, “Can you just let her win?”

“The women’s final ended with Osaka winning the match, after Williams got into a dispute with Ramos over scoring penalties. The penalties followed an initial verbal warning that Ramos issued to Williams about receiving coaching from the sidelines. Williams first challenged Ramos over the coaching call; later, after Williams smashed her racket in frustration over losing a game, Ramos penalized her by a point for the racket abuse.”

“After that, Williams called him a “thief,” and he ultimately penalized her by an entire game for what he said was verbal abuse. Both during and after the match, Williams called out the sexist double standards that she says colored Ramos’s calls, specifically noting that many male tennis players have not been penalized as harshly (or at all) for similar (or worse) outbursts.”

Serena Williams in a catsuit at the 2018 French Open / Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

The cartoon was a bad look — and it’s nothing new for Serena Williams’s detractors

“Whether or not you think Williams’s behavior during the match warranted the penalties that eventually cost her the game, Knight’s depiction of Williams is a jarring reminder of insidious, racist tropes that undercut black women in America. And Williams has repeatedly been a target of those tropes — despite the fact that she’s one of the most prominent, successful athletes in the world, regardless of gender — throughout her storied career.”

“(For contrast, it’s worth noting how Osaka, who is Japanese and Haitian, is depicted in the cartoon as lithe, expressionless, and, as some have observed, seemingly whitewashed.)”

Nike

@Nike

You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers.

“Knight’s cartoon is a literal illustration of the way society is quick to degrade women — and black women in particular — when they don’t fall in line with the ways women are “supposed” to act. Not only is Williams depicted as a petulant toddler for having spoken up about what she felt was a sexist call, but also as a hulking, animal-like brute.”

As Jenée Desmond-Harris has previously detailed for Vox, Williams’s career has long been marked by racist remarks and assumptions made by tennis spectators, fellow players, and the media. After Williams won the French Open in 2015, for example, Desmond-Harris wrote:”

“Williams was compared to an animal, likened to a man, and deemed frightening and horrifyingly unattractive. One Twitter user wrote that Williams “looks like a gorilla, and sounds like a gorilla when she grunts while hitting the ball. In conclusion, she is a gorilla.” And another described her as “so unbelievably dominant … and manly.”

“Knight’s cartoon picks up these assertions and runs with them.”

Serena Williams' tennis tutu

Williams’s body, like the bodies of many other women athletes, is under constant scrutiny. But as a muscular black woman whose career is full of wins, Williams regularly becomes the subject of commentary that is simply degrading at best, and openly racist at worst. It often harks back to a time when women of color were treated like curiosities.”

“Knight’s illustration seems to equate Williams with figures like Saartjie Baartman, also known as the Hottentot Venus, an African woman who was paraded before European audiences as nothing more than a freak-show attraction. “No matter how insanely successful black women like Serena become, the legacy of the Hottentot Venus will always be ready to rear its ugly head at an opportune moment,” Anita Little wrote in 2012 for Ms. Magazine.”

Williams’s detractors have singled out her body as mockable, and her femininity as debatable, because of her strength and skill.”

Link to entire report: A new editorial cartoon shows yet another racist depiction of Serena …

19 comments

  1. That cartoon is grotesque and vile! While I do think Serena lost her cool, it was being accused of cheating that really set her off, and I can’t blame her. As for the rest, while Ramos may have technically stuck to the rule book, there’s no doubt she was being treated unfairly. It was just a horrible thing to watch and I felt terrible for not only Serena, but Naomi Osaka as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Kim,

      I watched the match. It seemed to me that she wasn’t paying attention to her coach as she was to busy playing the game. That is why she went off. Both players’ coaches were coaching and so why pick on Serena?

      I feel the same as you do in that this was hard to watch. This marred the win for Naomi Osaka as well.

      But no matter how you view the match, the cartoon is out of bounds.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Sorry, Gronda, I have to vehemently disagree with you here.

    Serena Williams believes that, given her tennis record, the officials’ treatment of her should be different to that of other players – both female and male. In the US Open Final, her behaviour towards the umpire was completley out of order and he was correct in penalising her accordingly. If it had been any other tennis player, he would have done exactly the same. It was also disgraceful how the Flusing Meadow crowd behaved in hissing and booing Osaka’s fantastic first Grand Slam title.

    The tennis rules apply to all – man, woman, white, yellow or black. Just because she is the latter, Williams has made a huge issue out of this, claiming sexism et al., whereas she should accept that she is in the wrong. She has made a huge fortune from the tennis world, and she should abide by its code of conduct.

    Stefan Molyneux makes some good points on this issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBexG_DxD-s

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Ivan Kinsman,

      There is room for disagreement here, and you are far from being alone in your thinking.

      I admit to bias when it comes to Serena Williams. It was my impression that she had not been paying attention to her coach and that’s why she was upset at being called out for this. Naomi Osaka’s coach was also doing likewise. Her emotions were raw and yes, she did lose it. She’s human.

      But no matter how one feels about how Serena Williams acted and/ or how the umpire reacted to her, it is my opinion that the cartoon was out of bounds.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Gronda,
        Yes, I think there are two clear sides to this.
        In my opinion, a cartoon is a cartoon – its aim is to poke fun at the subject being presented. I think we start getting into censorship/free speech issues when we try to define what a cartoonist can/cannot depict in their representation.
        As the cartooist points out, he has done cartoons of other players misbehaving e.g Nick Kyrios. I remember there were cartoons of John McEnroe ranting and raving. There was the case of a Dutch (or Danish?) cartoonist depicting Mohommed in a European newspaper – which in my view is entirely acceptable in Europe but not in a Muslim country.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Just came across this quote which I think sums up the situation very well ref. Serena Williams’ antics on court:

    “When the finest player the game has seen behaves like a diva, it is not wrong to remind her that champions have responsibilities. She is much better than that. And she is not bigger than her sport. Nobody is – including those who sit in judgment.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You might find my recent post of interest — on this same subject. But I don’t think there was any way Serena was going to turn that match around. Osaka was outplaying her, is much more fit and athletic and was playing “lights out.” Serena has, as you say, turned other matches around. But not this time! She has also showed the angry side of her personality before. She hates to lose — which is why she has been so successful, I daresay!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Hugh,

      I did go to your post and commented.

      Frankly, I feel badly as to how this turned out for everyone in this drama. As I mentioned, I would have preferred if the umpire was not the story, that Serena Williams would have lost or turned her playing around on her own steam, and that Naomi Osaka could have basked in the win she deserved.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Like

  5. One thing to note is that the male players behave much worse and don’t get penalized for it. One of the top male tennis players (Andy Murray, I think) admitted as much. What we’re left with is the second instance in a week or so where it seems like the women are held to a different standard than the men (first time was when another woman tennis player took off her shirt for a brief time).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Brendan

      That is so true both for the shirt incident and Ms. Serena being called out for calling the umpire, a thief and a liar.

      For those who are not aware of the shirt incident, Alize Corneta, a female tennis player was given a warning for a penalty violation for briefly (10 seconds) taking off her shirt when she realized it was on backward, She was discreet. If she had been a male tennis player, she would not have been subject to a penalty.

      Here is what I just commented on another post:

      This should have been Naomi Osaka’s win, period, end of story. She deserves all the accolades that’s being heaped on her.

      But-but-but, I hate it when the umpire in any game becomes the story. By his intervention, he marred the game, both for Serena Williams and for Naomi Osaka. He had the power to get Serena Williams’ attention in a more constructive way, bur he chose to act like a jerk on a power trip.

      As I watched the game, it was my perception that Serena Williams was not paying attention to the coach, and that is why she blew up when accused. Those present have said that Ms. Osaka’s coach was doing likewise.

      This does not change that fact Serena Williams suffered a meltdown that was far from constructive. It can be said she behaved badly. She’s human.

      It is my opinion that both Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka were harmed. Ms. Osaka deserved to win in a game that would not be historically marred with controversy and Ms. Serena deserved to lose, fair and square. She also deserved her chance for a come back or not.

      While Naomi Osaka is the true winner, she was robbed of the full glory she earned.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

      • Totally agree. Amid the controversy, people forget that Osaka was great without any interference from officials. What a shame. We could be talking about Osaka as potentially the next great women’s tennis player but instead we are talking about the controversy.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    My sentiments exactly … ‘In summary, Serena Williams said the incident was a case in point of the glaring double standards according to which male and female tennis players are judged, and I concur with her.’
    … and she has dealt with these standards and negative comments most of her life!! Notice the latest cartoon … so very insulting and disrespectful!!
    She’s a giant!! .. “You can take a superhero out of her costume but you can never take away her power.” … Nike!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Horty,

      I do admit to being an avid fan of Serena Williams. All those past slights imposed on her over the years erupted in an emotional melt down which was hard to watch. Some men who haven’t been the subject of these slights over years, and especially as a Black woman, have a harder time understanding these emotions. It doesn’t help that she’s a recent Mom. Heaven forbid, that we should mention the obvious.

      By the umpire insisting on inserting himself into this picture, he robbed Serena Williams of knowing that she lost fair and square or that she rebounded; and he robbed Naomi Osaka of the victory, she deserved without all the controversy.

      Thanks a million for all of your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Stepping out of the personalities and the technicalities.
    I am not a great tennis spectator, but there is one facet which always weighs on me.
    There you are in this small space, surrounded on four sides by a crowd, which is usually silent, so you can’t say a word, and you are playing a game which relies on you and you alone. All in this very enclosed space, with all these folk so close to you, having to deal with a ball which is flying at you at goodness-knows-how many mph.
    Small wonder tennis players are renowned for outbursts.
    All that tension and the higher up you go, the worse it gets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Roger,

      Let’s put this way. I would not want to be anywhere near their serves and a ball.

      Serena Williams does not act like a sweet little wisp of a gal. She has a temper and emotions which did get out of hand, in this instance.

      There is a saying that the “punishment doesn’t fit the crime.” This was like the tennis player Alize Corneta who was fined for quickly and discreetly changing a shirt in 10 seconds. She had a sports bra underneath. The shirt was on backwards. To my way of thinking, in the case of Serena Williams, the umpire had alternative ways of getting her attention, short of penalizing her a game.

      There are those who disagree with me on this one. I do confess to being biased.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

      • I remember the Corneta incident.
        Mind you sports authorities seemed to have a shirt phobia, a number the male athletes and soccer players have been penalised, even lost medals for bearing their torsos.
        I can’t really comment on this one as I know very little about tennis (I keep asking my wife after all these years why they start scoring at 25?) and didn’t see the match.
        No doubt there will be followers of the game who will argue forever about the official’s decisions (A time-honoured tradition in all sports).
        This I do know for certain misogynists and racists who know even less than I do will be injecting their poison into the debate.

        Liked by 1 person

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