Shame on Serena Williams and Her Racist Fans

"I don't cheat to win." Serena's coach did cheat. She lost, was a poor sport, and her fans openly booed Naomi Osaka.

This really is shameful all around. Serena Williams is mercurial and explosive, in a sport filled with some rather intense characters. She's used to winning, as are her fans. But her attitude during her U.S. Open loss to Naomi Osaka was beyond simple pique at losing. It was as if Williams thought it was her right to win, and her treatment of the officials made a $17,000 fine seem insufficient punishment.

(Williams' coach admitted he signaled from the crowd, a violation of rules, which is, bluntly, cheating. And Serena's 6-2, 6-4 loss to Osaka was hardly the result of a "thief." She was beaten, soundly, fair and square.)

Worse, Williams tried to blame her loss--her loss--on sexism. From CNN:

"I'm here fighting for women's rights and for women's equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say 'thief' and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark," she said. "He's never taken a game from a man because they said 'thief.'"

Nobody took Williams' game from her, except Naomi Osaka, that is. This entire farce has been about Williams, and her screaming fit, and now sexism, when it should be about a 20-year-old who was shamed because she won.

In the weakest praise ever given to a deserving winner, who beat her own childhood idol at a sport she dedicated her life to, Williams said after Osaka was booed at the trophy presentation:

"Let's give everyone the credit where credit's due and let's not boo anymore," she told the crowd. "We're going to get through this and let's be positive. So congratulations, Naomi. No more booing."

Let's not boo the winner because she's Japanese, I think Williams meant. Or maybe let's not boo her "because she's not me," if we want to be more generous. The fact that the U.S. Open crowd would boo a young Japanese player for beating a diva like Williams is contemptible.

I shouldn't even have to explain why, but in case you believe there's a racist hiding under every rock, Japanese in America are already discriminated against in very real terms, under the doctrine that they aren't as worthy of equal treatment as other, more favored minorities. Just last week, the Justice Department backed a lawsuit alleging that Harvard discriminates against Asian-Americans, a charge the school denies.

“Harvard today engages in the same kind of discrimination and stereotyping that it used to justify quotas on Jewish applicants in the 1920s and 1930s,” Students for Fair Admissions said in a court filing.

If it's good enough for Harvard, I suppose it's good enough for tennis to cheer for the supposedly-disadvantaged African-American woman, who is worth an estimated $180 million, and boo the Japanese woman who could not bear to show her countenance as she cried at her own victory ceremony.

When everything becomes a social justice cause, then nothing remains pure, fair, or sportsmanlike. Williams and her fans are the ones who should be ashamed. And all sports has been diminished by this shabby display of false victimhood and meanness.

Comments
No. 1-10
JamesJWilson
JamesJWilson

To be clear, there's absolutely no evidence the fans were booing because of racism. The author made that up out of thin air.

Korinne
Korinne

Everybody wants to say "oh but people have said worse and not been penalized" as if what she said to the referee is even relevant. The problem wasn't that she was upset with the referee, the problem is that she spent 20 minutes arguing with the referee before finally pitching a fit instead of just taking the warning, saying 'what the f*ck?!' and then going back to finish the game. Had she done that then she would have been in line with what all of these male tennis players have done. Instead she went full on harridan and demanded that the referee prostrate himself before the altar of Serena and that's what got her in trouble.

Tiredofthelies
Tiredofthelies

I had to do some research for this. I am a huge tennis fan having played in high school and I don't remember men ever being docked a game for saying something to a judge. And sure enough, I could not find one example of a man being penalized for it. Just think about that, McEnroe, Agassi, Roderick, and countless others have shouted all sorts of things way worse at judges and have not had a single game taken from them. Roderick even tweeted after the match he has said way worse in his life and never been penalized by it.

Of course then you read a statement like this, "Let's not boo the winner because she's Japanese, I think Williams meant. Or maybe let's not boo her "because she's not me," and you realize the author just either doesn't like Williams or has some racist thoughts of his own.

Veritasenvitas
Veritasenvitas

It's clear that a double standard exists. Men consistently harangue officials during the crossover and use much worse words than thief. This goes back a long ways. Women are supposed to be ladylike, demure and prance around the court daintily. Sure Serena behaved badly that's not in question. What is in question is would this judge have docked Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer a game for this behavior. I doubt it! I've watched a lot of grand slam tennis and it is clear that the officials are okay with "men being men" and acting like children and abusing officials. While I thought the crowds behavior towards Osaka was shameful I also think that historically tennis has a double standard.

JamesJWilson
JamesJWilson

"Let's not boo the winner because she's Japanese, I think Williams meant. "

No, that's not what she meant. Nice try.