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Why is it supposed to be sexist and racist that 20-year-old half-Haitian Naomi Osaka wiped the floor with 37-year-old Serena Williams?

September 10, 2018

Image result for serena williams breaking racket

Photo: ABC News

Here’s what happened:

A 20-year-old named Naomi Osaka soundly beat the 37-year-old Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4 in the women’s U.S. Open. Shorter version: It wasn’t even close.

This also happened (from CBS Sports):

Osaka got off to a commanding start in the first set, then prevailed in what turned out to be a stunning second set. As Serena was attempting to play herself back into the match, she was warned because her coach was allegedly making hand signals, which is a code violation. Williams was upset by the violation, claiming that her coach was simply giving her a thumbs up and demanding an apology from chair umpire Carlos Ramos.

“You owe me an apology. I have never cheated in my life! I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right for her,” Williams told Ramos on the court. “I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose.”

Williams remained upset and later smashed her racket on the court, which resulted in another violation — this time resulting in a point penalty. The penalty made the 36-year-old Williams even more angry, leading to her further chastising Ramos — including calling him a “thief.” Eventually, a full game penalty was leveled against Williams for berating an official.

Several US open officials eventually came onto the court to talk to Williams and try to calm her down. After several minutes of discussion, cooler heads prevailed and the match resumed.

Shortly after, Williams surrendered that second set and the match went to Osaka.

That’s the straight-news version of what happened. Here’s the feminist version:

Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post:

Chair umpire Carlos Ramos managed to rob not one but two players in the women’s U.S. Open final….Ramos 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.

***

[H]e wasn’t going to take it from a woman pointing a finger at him and speaking in a tone of aggression. So he gave Williams that third violation for “verbal abuse” and a whole game penalty, and now it was 5-3, and we will never know whether young Osaka really won the 2018 U.S. Open or had it handed to her by a man who was going to make Serena Williams feel his power.

Uh, what?

But there’s more. such as this from Gillian B. White at the Atlantic:

As she tried to defend herself against the umpire’s call of verbal abuse minutes later, after she called him a “thief,” she was heard saying: “There are a lot of men out here who have said a lot of things and do not get that punishment. Because I am a woman you are going to take this away from me? That is not right.”

***

Taking a game away from Williams for using the word “thief” during such a high-stakes match is unlikely to do much to quash the notion that a double standard exists between men and women in today’s competitive tennis field. And the stakes of that double standard can feel even higher for women of color.

And this, from Quartz’s Heather Landy, who not only takes Ramos publicly to task, but also takes her own husband publicly to task for not taking Serena’s side:

My husband isn’t a fan of Serena Williams, and while his cheering for her opponents never much fazed me before, these days it fills me with unspeakable rage.

***

Williams is a 36-year-old woman who exists in a system that wasn’t built for her, who excels at a game that isn’t kind to her, who put her body and indeed her life at risk to have a baby that now depends on her, and is still expected to handle every setback with ease and graciousness, which most of the time she does. (“Everything’s fine, guys,” she said at a press conference after French Open officials banned the catsuit Nike developed for her to help her guard against blood clots.) I can’t understand why more people like my husband aren’t outside right now erecting statues of Williams, let alone able to drum up enough empathy to just cheer her on in a tennis match.

Yikes! Guys, how would you like to be married to Heather Landy?

First of all, Ramos leveled no penalty at all on Williams for a) the coaching-from-the-stands violation (maybe it’s a rule that ought to be changed, but it’s a rule); or b) the first torrent of abuse–I mean “speaking sharply,” or is it “tone of aggression”?-she hurled at him. So if she’d just not felt the urge to shatter that racket into smithereens….

Second, Osaka would have won anyway. I can’t help it that Williams went through a difficult childbirth. Yes, she was brave, and it was brave of her to play her way to a comeback despite lingering physical problems, but she lost–fair and square and to a younger, better player. I can’t help it that Serena Williams is simply aging out, as all athletes must do.

Third, what’s  with this “women” and “women of color” stuff? Serena Williams wasn’t playing a man; she was beaten by another woman. Furthermore, Osaka is half-Haitian. So where’s the racism?

But that’s the difference between the straight-news version of events and the feminist version.

Update: Love ya, Ace of Spades HQ, for the shout-out! One of my favorite blogs.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

 

 

 

 

 

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15 Comments
  1. DriesNK permalink

    It’s just like elections of 2016. Victory was stolen from Hillary then and Serena was robbed now. Robbed!

  2. Big Bill permalink

    I don’t get it. Osaka is half African (black) and half Japanese (yellow). This makes her 100% colored. Serena, on the other hand, is maybe 70% African (black) and 30% European (white). This makes her only 70% colored.

    So what we have is a 100% colored girl winning against a 70% colored woman. Looks like a big win for colored folks!

  3. Leonid Ardov permalink

    Even the straight news version was a little bit off. The officials didn’t come onto the court to calm her down, what I saw was they came onto the court because she had called for a referee to review the umpires ruling

  4. Jim permalink

    I feel no empathy for Serena. She tried the oldest tactic in tennis (perfected by John McEnroe) to upset their opponent by making a scene. She was spectacularly unsuccessful and made a fool of herself on a global stage. Then she doubled down by trying to play the victim. The feminists that rallied to her defense will only serve to make this embarrassment even worse. Shame on you, Serena. BTW, kudos to Ms. Osaka for hanging tough during Serena’s outrageous behavior.

  5. Hold on now. You must tabulate each person’s Social Justice Victim Points before drawing conclusions in line with the Central People’s Committee.

    • Mike the Accountant permalink

      And the ever-important celebrity points. Osaka matches Williams on the gender and race points, but is at a great disadvantage on celebrity points. The umpire (a total non-celebrity) should just say thank you, may I have another.

      Similarly, football players are allowed their free-speech during the national anthem. Lowly fans are not allowed to object.

  6. Joel Hammer permalink

    Her opponent is 1/2 Black and 1/2 Asian, like Tiger Woods. It is no secret that Williams was stalking Woods several years ago. She wrote about it. Woods of course went with a blond (again) and Williams had to marry some white Frenchman.
    So, this rage I suspect has a lot more to it than just losing a tennis match.
    Or, it could just be steroids.
    We see women like her fighting in Walmart or McDonald’s on U-Tube all the time.
    And, yeah, she is getting old for this sport.
    She is a good argument for going to a five set, not a three set, match for the ladies, too.

  7. Dave S permalink

    Looking at Serena’s oicture I’d say if she dropped 20 lb. she would be a lot quicker on her feet. I know she just had a baby but if you’re going to compete at that level you have to be in top condition.

  8. Don Smythe permalink

    At some point in her tirade, she called Ramos a “thief” and said he was cheating her. If you’ve ever been around pro sports (I’ve spent most of my life doing so), questioning the honesty of the referee/umpire is at the top of the list of things you can’t do. Serena Williams is arguably the greatest women’s tennis player of all time. But what she did was wrong — and notably, it also drew attention away from the fact that she was getting her butt kicked by a 20-year-old many fans had never heard of.

    The USTA and announcers beclowned themselves afterward, destroying the well-earned victory for a young player. It was a disgrace.

    Would an umpire have done the same for a man? Ramos is apparently a stickler for the rules and reportedly has penalized male players. Could he have handled it differently? Maybe. But when you treat the referee/umpire the way she did, bad things happen. In the end, though, all it did was speed up the outcome.

    • My understanding is the Ramos did the same thing to McEnroe back in the day.

      I’ve been shocked by the reaction to this by the sports media and the media in general. It’s a level of insanity that even surprises me in this insane age.

  9. Cynthia Ducey permalink

    Serena’s behavior was disgraceful and she deserved the penalty points, just as McEnroe did when he behaved in similar fashion. She is past her prime and needs to accept it. There was no racism or sexism involved.

  10. Bill R. permalink

    Serena and her tantrum embarrassed herself and our country. I have zero sympathy for her. Also, Ms Osaka kicked Serena’s butt and she would have gotten it kicked with or without the game penalty. She has been pampered for many years and it’s time for her to learn some manners. She should have accepted her defeat gracefully like her opponents do when they lose to her. He race has nothing, I repeat, NOTHING to do with this. I do not want to hear it and I will not accept it. You cheapen the word for when an actual case of racism occurs!

  11. chopp5 permalink

    Umpires are considering refusing to officiate matches involving Serena Williams over her behaviour at the US Open final

  12. troy permalink

    what a sore looser.

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  1. Serena Williams lost to a half-black half-Asian woman and this is allegedly both sexist and racist

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