Social media weighs in on Serena's loss

Tennis great Billie Jean King is one of many weighing on social media about Serena Williams' loss at the US Open final.

Posted: Sep 10, 2018 2:30 PM
Updated: Sep 10, 2018 3:04 PM

The unfair treatment displayed toward Serena Williams at the US Open is further proof that, in tennis, women are subjected to a double standard. That standard is particularly glaring in the case of female athletes of color.

Only days after the announcement that Colin Kaepernick is the face of Nike's "Just Do It" 30th anniversary campaign, Williams, a black tennis star, was punished for displaying justifiable anger when she called out the umpire for his on-the-court-sexism. She was then penalized with a $17,000 fine, $10,000 of it for her remarks to the umpire.

The match should have been a cause for celebration, coming over 60 years since Althea Gibson became the first African-American player to compete in the US Nationals and win the US Open, Wimbledon and the French Open. Gibson faced racism as a trailblazing black woman, with hecklers at her first tennis match in Forest Hills on August 29, 1950, shouting "Beat the n-----!"

Fast forward to 2018 and Williams was matched against Naomi Osaka, a Japanese and Haitian American player who, like Serena and Venus, is part of a tennis powerhouse family with her sister Mari. That Naomi had the chance to play against her idol was overshadowed by the racist and sexist officiating of the tennis tournament.

At Saturday's match, umpire Carlos Ramos issued Williams a warning for allegedly receiving illegal coaching through hand gestures. Though her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, admitted to coaching, Williams denied she had cheated and demanded Ramos apologize. Then Williams broke her racket out of frustration over losing a serve, for which Ramos imposed a one-point penalty. Williams responded by calling Ramos a "thief" for stealing a point from her.

Williams lost the match to Osaka and took the defeat with grace, but not without making a statement. At a press conference, Williams said she is fighting for women's rights and women's equality, calling out Ramos for his sexism. "He's never taken a game from a man because they said 'thief.' For me, it blows my mind. But I'm going to continue to fight for women," Williams said.

Other players have notably found fault with Ramos. In 2016, he even accused Williams' older sister, Venus, of receiving coaching during a match.

(Some in tennis have defended Ramos and say he has been tough on male as well as female players.)

Williams, who returned to tennis after childbirth, has faced an uphill battle in recent weeks. More specifically, she has been policed for her blackness. She has faced unfair drug testing and disgusting comments about her body. And she has been banned from wearing her Wakanda-esque black catsuit at the French Open -- which was designed to reduce her risk of blood clotting, the very issue that almost claimed her life during childbirth.

Now, perhaps the greatest tennis player in the world pays a $17,000 price for her anger. Why? Because to many, including likely the tennis authorities that be, Williams' reaction affirms the racial stereotype of a black woman who dares to speak her mind -- loudmouthed, uncouth and dare we say "ghetto."

Of course, sports history is replete with men who have shown rage on the court, and not only avoided punishment but received accolades. The antics, outbursts and temper tantrums of John McEnroe, Andre Agasi and Jimmy Connors are just a few examples. And male tennis players, such as James Blake, have admitted to saying worse than Williams did -- without suffering penalties. As Billie Jean King tweeted, "When a woman is emotional, she's 'hysterical' and she's penalized for it. When a man does the same, he's 'outspoken' & and there are no repercussions."

This double standard is nothing new, but it is receiving more attention in the #MeToo era. The repercussions go far beyond the tennis world. As Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, asked Judge Brett Kavanaugh at his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in a discussion on Roe v. Wade, "Can you think of any laws that give the government power to make decisions about the male body?"

The penalty against Serena Williams is evidence that black women still face an uphill battle, and we have a lot of work left to do if we are to be a society of equals.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35712

Reported Deaths: 2207
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion10037594
Lake3806202
Allen174371
Cass15927
Elkhart143529
St. Joseph132035
Hamilton118094
Hendricks118074
Johnson1120110
Madison59761
Porter55329
Clark52841
Bartholomew52238
Howard43734
LaPorte43624
Tippecanoe4214
Shelby39822
Jackson3942
Delaware38740
Hancock34928
Floyd32140
Boone31835
Vanderburgh2902
Morgan28324
Noble25121
Montgomery24417
Clinton2401
White2389
Decatur23031
Grant22123
Dubois2053
Harrison19622
Henry18412
Vigo1758
Greene17125
Dearborn17021
Monroe17012
Warrick16728
Kosciusko1661
Lawrence16524
Marshall1472
Miami1411
Putnam1377
Orange13122
Jennings1314
Scott1223
Franklin1158
Ripley1086
LaGrange1022
Daviess9516
Carroll933
Steuben872
Wayne865
Wabash802
Fayette797
Newton7810
Jasper701
Jay530
Clay522
Washington511
Rush503
Randolph503
Fulton501
Pulaski490
Jefferson471
Whitley443
DeKalb431
Starke393
Sullivan371
Owen341
Perry340
Huntington342
Brown331
Benton320
Wells320
Knox310
Blackford272
Tipton261
Crawford240
Fountain222
Switzerland210
Spencer211
Adams201
Gibson182
Parke180
Posey160
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin120
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0175
West Lafayette
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 88°
Kokomo
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 83°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 82°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 83°
Williamsport
Scattered Clouds
80° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 82°
Crawfordsville
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 80°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 84°
Delphi
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 81°
Monticello
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Logansport
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 83°
Isolated storms & humid......
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events