In today’s world of super charged political correctness, it seems that everywhere you look, there is chaos and controversy. Recently, Serena Williams stole the limelight after playing Naomi Osaka, but not because she won the match. It was Naomi Osaka who won, but all focus was on Serena Williams as she broke her tennis racket, and verbally attacked umpire Carlos Ramos, calling him a thief.
Of course, the exchange was triggered by Williams’ first receiving hand signals from her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, which is against the rules of the game. Upon being asked, Mouratoglou plainly admitted that he had given the hand signal, which resulted in Williams being handed the warning. She responded to the warning by calling Ramos a thief, and smashing her racket on the ground. The three consecutive violations resulted in her then being handed a fine of $17,000.
Skewed Focus – Yes Or No?
Williams has since claimed that the fine was unfair, although is careful to avoid mentioning that the illegal move from her coach is what triggered the events. She focuses on her behaviour versus the behaviour of multiple other male tennis players, claiming that men would not have been treated the same. Hence, her angle is that she is fighting for women’s rights in sports, with her stance being that sexism is rampant in the sporting world. Maybe she should stick to playing online Roulette at Lucky Nugget Casino, where no-one knows what gender you are, and the results are always fair, regardless!
A closer look will reveal that not only are male players fined regularly for similar violations, but that she herself has gotten away with similar behaviour in previous tennis games, including in a match in 2009. She verbally assaulted a linesman, which she later openly apologised for. Ramos has likewise handed out multiple fines to male players over the years for similar behaviour. Plainly, statistics show that men are not more likely to get away with poor behaviour on the court. So in this regard her claims seem to do her no credit. Her argument seems to simply be a matter of attempting to excuse poor etiquette on the court, and perhaps draw more than a little attention to herself.
Wrong But Right
But although Williams seems to be wrong in her arguments in this instance, there are still examples of sexism in the sporting world. The French Federation president banned Williams from wearing a black catsuit, although the outfit had been designed with no other intention than to control muscle movements.
Earlier this year Alizé Cornet was reprimanded for quickly and discreetly changing her shirt on the court, after she realised it was put on back to front. Male players change their shirts on the court regularly.
So although Williams may be calling attention to all the wrong aspects of sexism in the sport, it does exist.
The Williams controversy quickly and predictably exploded, with multiple sports stars moving to support her or oppose her, ushering in yet another controversy in the sporting world. Williams is taking the opportunity to try and position herself as the face of social justice and women’s rights.
Given that that the recent controversy in football, known as the take a knee movement, granted footballer Colin Kaepernick an extremely lucrative deal with Nike, murmurs are being heard that Williams simply aims to put herself in a similar position. This may or may not be true, but one thing is certain; controversy in sports is more common and public than ever. Controversy is also an almost guaranteed way to draw mass attention, now more than ever.
Many are quick to state that they simply wish to watch sports without the added controversy that seems to be taking place, wherever it is allowed. But if history is anything to go by, there is a world of controversy, lucrative or otherwise, that seems to be the new norm.