Ser­ena gets no love for U.S. Open tantrum

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - NEWS - By Chris­tine Flow­ers

Ser­ena Wil­liams is an­gry. She has been dis­re­spected, robbed of a vic­tory fore­told, made to look hu­man in front of a crowd that views her as di­vine. Ser­ena Wil­liams is not used to be­ing treated like a com­moner on the court where she has reigned supreme for many years.

Ser­ena Wil­liams is go­ing to use this mo­ment of per­sonal an­guish and chan­nel it into “an im­por­tant cause,” the same type of “im­por­tant cause” that other women have cham­pi­oned over the years. It is a cause borne of grievance, and an­noy­ance, and bit­ter­ness.

Ser­ena Wil­liams is go­ing to make all of us see that ten­nis is sex­ist, like all of the in­sti­tu­tions in this great pa­tri­ar­chal uni­verse.

And while many peo­ple, in­clud­ing le­gions of women, think that Ser­ena’s mis­sion is a good and no­ble one, I dis­agree. To me, what hap­pened on the court at the U.S. Open this week­end was dis­grace­ful, and I’m not talk­ing about a judge’s fail­ure to show the ap­pro­pri­ate level of def­er­ence to Wil­liams. I’m talk­ing about the bald and bla­tant at­tempt to once again turn a le­git­i­mate pun­ish­ment into just an­other ex­am­ple of how women are vic­tims of dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Here are the facts, in a nut­shell. Car­los Ramos was the judge at court­side. He called Ser­ena out for “coach­ing,” and gave her a code vi­o­la­tion. Not lik­ing the im­pli­ca­tion that she had cheated, she de­manded an apol­ogy. He didn’t apol­o­gize. She had a lit­tle meltdown talk­ing about how she doesn’t cheat be­cause she has a baby daugh­ter (to which I say, I have two Labrador retriev­ers and what is your point?).

Later in the match, Ser­ena slammed her racket on the ground, still likely ticked off at the chau­vin­ist judge. She got a sec­ond code vi­o­la­tion. Then, she told the judge from whom she’d de­manded an apol­ogy that he was a “thief.” That was the third code vi­o­la­tion, which ul­ti­mately re­sulted in Ser­ena los­ing a game. She went on to lose the cham­pi­onship and was fined $17,000.

And this caused the ac­tual win­ner of the U.S. Open, Naomi Osaka, to cry. Which made me mar­vel at the hypocrisy of a woman who screams about sex­ism and says, “I’m gonna con­tinue to fight for women,” but has no prob­lem ru­in­ing what should have been the crown­ing mo­ment of glory for an­other woman with her own ob­vi­ous nar­cis­sism.

Try­ing to jus­tify one’s own in­abil­ity to deal with ad­ver­sity by point­ing the fin­ger at dis­crim­i­na­tion is an ef­fec­tive tac­tic, but it di­min­ishes and de­means the women who em­ploy it, and the women who are the al­leged ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

It’s not just the world of ten­nis that is in­fected by th­ese gen­der games. As I dis­cussed in this col­umn last week, a can­di­date for pub­lic of­fice in Mont­gomery County named Katie Muth com­plained that she didn’t



In this Sept. 8 photo, Naomi Osaka, of Ja­pan, is hugged by Ser­ena Wil­liams af­ter Osaka de­feated Wil­liams in the women’s fi­nal of the U.S. Open ten­nis tour­na­ment, in New York.

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