It’s not news anymore that Serena Williams was treated unfairly by umpire Carlos Ramos during the U.S. Open final on Saturday.
The staggering amount of penalties that Williams received throughout the game that ended in a $17,000 fine, all because she stood up for herself and showed passions that are regularly displayed by most professionals but rarely accepted coming from Black women was shocking and filled with misogynoir…something that Serena herself called out with class, not only while she was on court, but afterward during the press conference.
“You definitely can’t go back in time,” she said at the time, “but I can’t sit here and say I wouldn’t say [Ramos’] a thief because I thought he took a game from me. But I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things.”
“And I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff. And for me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark,” she added. “He’s never took 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 and to fight for us to have equal [rights].”
Thankfully, the world’s best athlete is not fighting this battle alone. The heads of the Women’s Tennis Association, as well as the United States Tennis Association have both spoken out on Serena’s behalf, calling out the unequal treatment that female athletes receive, especially when compared to men.
“Yesterday brought to the forefront the question of whether different standards are applied to men and women in the officiating of matches. The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men v women and is committed to working with the sport to ensure that all players are treated the same. We do not believe that this was done,” WTA chief executive Steve Simon said in a statement on Sunday night.
Simon took it a step further, also calling for coaching to be allowed during grand slam matches, the Guardian notes, which was a point of contention during the finals match. Ramos gave Serena a warning for receiving coaching.
“We also think the issue of coaching needs to be addressed and should be allowed across the sport,” Simon said. “The WTA supports coaching through its on-court coaching rule, but further review is needed.”
Meanwhile, United States Tennis Association president Katrina Adams, praised Williams for her “class” and “sportsmanship.”
“We watch the guys do this all the time, they’re badgering the umpire on the changeovers. Nothing happens. There’s no equality. I think there has to be some consistency across the board. These are conversations that will be imposed in the next weeks,” Adams said.
“I know what Serena did and her behavior was not welcome. A line could have been drawn, but when you look at Carlos in this situation, it’s a judgment call to give that last penalty because she called him a thief. They’ve been called a lot more,” Adams added. “[He could have said]: ‘Hey, we’re getting out of hand here, let’s tone it down.’ I think he would have [said that to a male player], I think it’s a bond that they have and they way they communicate, and maybe not understanding they can have that same conversation with the women.”
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