Why Does Serena Williams Catch So Much Shhhhhhhh?

Enough is enough…

On this day…Rest in power Tupac Amaru Shakur. “Give ‘em the finga…”

Now let’s get to it about the lovely Serena Williams. This is not about her body or the ignorant box most want to slam her in but more the great example she has set for our nation’s youth since she picked up a racket.

Get off her back. She’s one of the best and two “incidents” in 15 years does not make Serena Williams some villainous pariah subject to criticism from sports fans and “experts” near and far who don’t even watch the sport. Everyone is not going to react like you. If we all acted the same this world would be boring as hell. In my line of work, I choose to scrutinize the action before the reaction and Serena has been treated as if she is not an American.

Women winning the most major titles:

24 Margaret Court
22 Steffi Graf
19 Helen Wills Moody
18 Chris Evert
18 Martina Navratilova
13 Serena Williams

Venus has 7 seven major titles to her credit.

Ok…

So this is an outburst?

Was the perception of Serena cemented because of this?

What about this idiot? Why should any athlete have to deal with this…especially involving race?

I will expand on my thoughts in the near future and hope to speak to Serena at length sometime soon on the record about the greatness of her career, but I will not judge her (or anyone) because she felt compelled to react in the heat of the moment in a way far less animated or disrespectful than her male counterparts.

I salute Serena’s fans and even those who feel Ms. Williams should have simply walked away after such a frustrating performance, but folks like this (you might have to highlight the missing words) are coming out of the woodwork and using this as an excuse to bury one of the greatest champions of her era in any sport?

She does work for the community, she cannot be defined exclusively as a tennis player and catches way too much heat for what she feels is right. It’s why I wrote The Nation piece. We live in a day where people feel that athletes…especially those of color…should shut the hell up and play despite anything before them simply because of money. That’s bs.

You be your child’s role model.

Do you flip off the idiot on the road who cuts you off with your scared children in the back seat? Do you react when someone steals your parking spot no matter if it’s a senior citizen who may not have caught you waiting with no turn signal on? Do you go straight to the union office and cuss out an innocent shop steward because your boss stepped out of line? Do you go off when someone disrespected your child in day care despite your child acting like a spoiled brat? Do you berate a cop when you feel you have been wrongly pulled over with a bunch of empty beer cans in the back seat? Even reacting in a less demonstrative way does not mean you do not in fact react.

It doesn’t make you a bad person.

So get off your moronic high horse when it comes to athletes who have no forum to express themselves because you can’t handle the truth.

Athletes are human just like any of you and this idiotic standard they are held to for being normal in a world abnormal is the most dumbing down crock of bs.

When those around athletes (read: fans and media) are held to the same standard then I’m cool with a logical (objective) response but to poke and prod and stick and dismiss athletes as if your talent is of theirs is downright child like.

Serena and her sister Venus have been dealing with this bs since they broke on the scene a decade and a half ago. First it was their Pop, then it was their beads, then it was their grunts, then it was their sense of fashion and commitment to becoming well-rounded strong women and now Serena ostracized because she said something to an umpire (with whom she has a history) because she was a little frustrated?

Go check Andy Roddick’s next match and get back to me and it’s disgusting John McEnroe criticized Serena on air when he built his reputation on being an asshole (and is still praised for doing so). So did Jimmy Connors and many other of Serena’s male counterparts.

Chris Evert you too with all your pompous entitlement.

Some athletes have to deal with this bs and it seems those mainly of color are at the forefront of media and fan ire despite ubiquitous evidence white folks react even more so. Two incidents do not diminish a career of great sportsmanship. If your feet aren’t in their shoes and your primitive mind simply won’t comprehend that when the aforementioned feel backed in a corner there will be a reaction…then you my friend have a closed mind.

I coached league sports for almost twenty years and I saw and experienced some things that continues to boggle the mind. When you are good at something and some people can’t seem to get their head around why you are so good and can’t stop you because your success destroys their confidence to the core, they will try whatever it takes to bring you down despite consistent professional and sound behavior prevailing in previous incidents for years of sets.

Think about why she chose a US Open Final to become so vocal. Are you equipped to do this or do you stop short because the reaction scares you?

That the USTA fined Serena a mere two thousand dollars speaks to the public reaction. That the governing body chose to levy the fine is nothing short of cowardice, for Serena (and her sister Venus to a lesser extent) is the only reason women’s tennis is relevant.

I’m sure Serena and Venus feel some Americans rather cheer for Sharapova or any other foreigner just because they can’t deal with powerful personalities born right here on this soil.

Whatever happened to USA! USA! USA!?

Get you head out of your behind and go to center court when the men are screaming, spitting, breaking rackets, cussing, fussing, hitting balls in the crowd not caring who’s injured and acting like McEnroe little brats because their water bottles weren’t on ice and get back to me.

Check out D.K. Wilson’s piece on Serena as well. My tennis view is seen through his lens as someone who has played the sport on a high level.

 

24 Responses to “Why Does Serena Williams Catch So Much Shhhhhhhh?”

  1. Temple3 says:

    “Why can’t I be down?”

  2. Mike, agree with the sentiment of your article, but think you go awry in discussing the fine. Not cowardice to fine Serena for the outburst. She deserved to be fine for her outburst. Can’t treat referees/officials like that & not be fined. If you treat a ref similarly in the NBA, you get fined. A tech is a fine. Only thing cowardice about USTA’s action in regards to the fine,was the amount. A trifling amount. The size of the fine actually says that USTA views this as a minor incident compared to Serena’s past U.S. Open incident which was 10 times worse.

    Here are my real time comments from twitter as the incident was unfolding:

    (1) 6-2 @usopen Stosur wins 1st set with ease. @serenawilliams not on her game. As they say in boxing – styles make a fight.Stosur 2-4 v. Serena
    (2) Stosur’s got game. Serves & Volleys. Tennis rankings are a joke. Wosniacki can’t match up with Serena, but this gal can. Tough player.
    (3) CBS showing the interchange between Serena & umpire. Not flattering to @serenawilliams but that mean streak is why she is so damn good.

    - At this point I get a tweet from @TheHoosierState – Shocked to see @ClarenceGaines2 say it’s okay for Serena to act like a fool/be disrespectful. Nothing excuses that outburst.

    (4) Reread what I said @TheHoosierState Where did I say it’s OK. Actually said it’s not flattering, but all great players have a mean streak.

    >@TheHoosierState – @ClarenceGaines2 The mean streak is why she is so good? How is that not saying it’s okay?

    (5) @TheHoosierState Interpret things anyway U want. All great players have a mean streak, some just mask it better than others. Only pt. I made
    (6) What I actually think @TheHoosierState is that Serena wasted her energy on the ref. Can’t let a bad call consume U like that.

    >@TheHoosierState – @ClarenceGaines2 Don’t backpedal too hard.

    (7) @TheHoosierState Not backpedaling at all. Read my 1st tweet. I stand by what I said. You’re reading more into it than is there
    (8) @TheHoosierState I’ve actually written about mean streaks in players before.

    >@TheHoosierState @ClarenceGaines2 You really don’t think the tantrum threw Stosur off for a bit? She quickly dropped two quick games without a fight

    (9) Get real @TheHoosierState Stosur took it to Serena. Read my tweets before the one in ? Styles make fights. Serena also wasn’t on her game.
    (10) @TheHoosierState Don’t know. I was talking on the phone when it happened. Missed everything. Just saw the replay.
    (11) So much for the tide @damesmith Stosur kicked her butt.
    (12) @ianapowers Serena got a point taken away for Verbal interference. Basically, she yelled after she hit a point.
    (13) Serena could be a politician. Nasty side shows on 1 on 1 situations. In public, she puts on an act & avoids directly answering question.
    (14) Serena probably had no idea that CBS was showing the dialogue between her & the umpire. Always be aware of the microphones & camera.
    (15) CBS spending too much time on THE CONTROVERSY instead of focusing on Stoser’s excellent play.

    Shared these thoughts with a friend this morning:

    Basic thing I said that Serena’s behavior was unflattering, but her “mean streak,” which she & other great athletes have is the reason she is so damn good. What she said is tame in comparison to what coaches & players say to referees in the NBA, Soccer, & NFL. Matter of fact, it’s tame in comparison to what parents will say to refs in youth sports. LOL, they did penalize her, $2,000, which is a joke. I wouldn’t suspend her over that incident. The first major incident she had at US Open was 10 times worse than this incident. I’m not going to go easy on Serena, b/c she should have controlled her emotions & been aware that everything was being recorded. I think she forgot about the cameras & microphones. No way did she want this to be highlighted to the world. Also because it took her energy & focus away from her game. BUT, this flash of anger probably came from a deep place & only she can attest to that. Even though the referee, by rule, had the authority to make the call. She also should have considered the stakes involved in making a call like that at that juncture. Compound that with what happened in the past & it’s understandable how one can feel slighted. I can remember blown calls by officials that cost my dad’s team championships. Hard not to blow a gasket in those type of situations. Serena also was put at a physical disadvantage in terms of rest and recovery because her opponent had a much earlier start time.

  3. Clarence you know I appreciate your comment because I have tremendous respect for your knowledge and sports experience but show me where you wrote the same of Roddick or any of the men behaving badly in Tennis. When men are fined consistently then get back to me.

    I reference the fine because it was so small…so IMO the fine was simply for public consumption…hence the “cowardice” tag.

    What about baseball players and managers who kick dirt or berate fans to crowd cheers? I don’t care about this standard of USTA integrity because honestly…there is none or there would be more consistency regarding the aforementioned.

  4. Temple3 says:

    @ Mizzo:

    I haven’t seen Serena’s outburst, but I do know that it rose to the level of Vick, Bonds, and Pacman Jones with ESPN’s target audience. 1900+ comments yesterday means you’ve crossed the Niggacon (not the Rubicon) — you know that river of bad behavior from which there is no return. Pavlov’s dog is a predictable bitch.

  5. I didn’t see Roddick’s match. Link the incident & I’ll also try to find it.

    What about baseball? They need to review their policies in terms of financial penalties. Been a part of the game for a long time – “gamesmanship” hard to compare a team sport to an individual sport. Face it Mike, Tennis & Golf have a different vibe than team sports. McEnroe & Nasty Nastase got fined back in the day. I would be interested in knowing what the tennis code of conduct is toward referees & if it is administered across the board. For example, I would like to know how many other players were fined during the US Open.

    Abuse of referees in all sports & all levels is over the top. You say damn athletes being role models, but in terms of interacting with referees, players & coaches need to set a standard for society because it’s getting ridiculous out here. Learn to disagree without being disagreeable so we can prevent incidents like this:

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/football-brawl-coach-led-mob-attacks-fl-youth-football-referee-during-game/

  6. Temple 3 . Link the ESPN post with 1900+ comments.

  7. Clarence Temple 3 understands what I speak of. There is a larger issue folks are uncomfortable to deal with. Of course there should be respect for officials but where the hell is their check and balance and your point about men in the past fined for outbursts is primitive (I know you don’t like when I say that) because McEnroe himself jumped on the hatred of Serena bandwagon.

    Unacceptable. Ridiculous actually. A contradiction of the most absurd hypocrisy.

  8. ks says:

    Um Clarence, here you go:

    http://espn.go.com/tennis/usopen11/story/_/id/6962108/serena-williams-fined-2000-outburst-us-open-women-final

    And that’s only ONE of the articles and it has 3000+ comments. Stop playing.

    Anyway, the bottom line for Serena and the Williamses in general is…. “Too Black, Too Strong”.

  9. @CeeDeeA says:

    Nice piece, Mr. Tillery. As a former college tennis player, I’ll throw in my two cents:

    1. Tennis players aren’t the same as athletes who play team sports. I saw firsthand that, the attitudes and pressures are way different because you’re the only one out there. A lot of the guys had arrogant, pompous attitudes and would do immature things like “tanking” (tennis speak for purposely throwing a match) and still do it in the pro ranks when they’re not having a good day. They did it to make it seem like “well, I didn’t try that hard anyway so you didn’t *really* beat me.” I wouldn’t say all players are arrogant, but to get to that level, all by yourself, takes a certain amount of hubris. I’m not sure the fans fully understand this.

    2. I’m so glad you mentioned Roddick. He’s the prototype of the players I described above. I was shocked at the condescending tone he used with the officials during the rain delay, but not a peep was made about that.

    3. I think McEnroe was actually defending Serena. He defended her the first time back in ’09, too. She was acting immaturely, but he didn’t blow it out of proportion. He REALLY can’t talk because his outbursts were the stuff of legend, and I think he knows that he was way worse. He actually did a good job, I thought, of trying to be fair because Mary Carillo was being the opposite of impartial. No one called him an embarrassment, he was just “Crazy John.” I think a lot of that has to do with her being a woman more than anything else. (See CNN article on Yahoo! CEO Bartz). People expect their women to be prim and proper.

    4. Serena is a loose cannon. But like John, that’s who she is. Should she work on it? Sure, because she probably can acknowledge that she lost her cool. But all of this tripping out about it is disingenuous, as you said. Those same critics are are just mad that they have to try so hard to keep their emotions bottled up and Serena just lets hers all out.

    5. Carillo’s comments after the fact, suggesting Serena acted like an “a** clown,” make me want to give her a piece of my mind, in person. When someone’s that biased against a player – and always has been – she needs to not commentate that player’s matches. It’s not doing anything for tennis, that’s for sure. The Williams sisters are the reason all of the players (men and women) get paid more now, so it makes no sense to have someone try to make your stars lose fans while she’s *live and on the air.* It’s not like Carillo wrote this after the fact. Her negative commentary actually shaped people’s memories of the event as it was happening. I think that’s why the USTA fined Serena so little. They know who feeds them.

  10. Celeste says:

    Thank you for speaking on it D. K. Wilson and Miz! On point and how I felt too. I like “Too Black, Too Strong” ks.

  11. @CeeDeeA says:

    Let me be clear that I have not known Roddick to give up in matches, but he is definitely a confident young man. :-)

  12. Miranda says:

    That was a very interesting twitter dialogue you had there Clarence, with “TheHoosierState”……..it was such a good example of fauxrage angst on the part of ole Hoos. Taking words and twisting them and getting all riled up as if Serena committed an act of violence – because well, she’s a sapphire so automatically that makes her prone to violence right?

    Bet you my lungs ole Hoos watches Fox News each and every night.

  13. Temple3 says:

    @ks:

    You’ve got Pavlov’s dog by the tail!

  14. Origin says:

    Great piece Mizzo and a great one by Dwill. On the sista Serena what can I say I am still hot from Sunday they cheated that sista.

    Anyway these folks have never liked Serena or her sister. The more they won the more they hated. If it wasn’t there hair it was their clothes. If it wasn’t their clothes it was the size of their behinds and their shapes. If it wasn’t their behinds and their shapes it was the grunts they made. If it wasn’t the grunts they made it was how hard they hit the ball. If it wasn’t how hard they hit the ball it was made up stories of how their father was telling them who should win or lose when they faced each other.

    Excuse after excuse……..when the truth was no matter what they did they hated them and what they represented. Serena and her sister were able to become the best tennis players in the world and still were functioning members of society. No run ins with the law or drug abuse like some of the highly known tennis stars. Yet Serena and her sister are called out as being the bad guys and ones who were ruining tennis.

  15. Julius says:

    You’re all ignoring the most ludicrous aspect of Serena’s recent tantrum. She basically accused the ref of being out to get her, as if this umpire just sat around for months hatching a plan to stick it to Serena specifically. This persecution complex was what put this outburst over the top, and was much more noticeable than the anger itself. It’s what catapulted her into the realm of John Mcenroe level childish absurdity. If she had simply bitched out the ump, called her blind, said she doesn’t deserve to be working in the sport, etc…then the fallout wouldn’t have been so bad. Most people don’t care for the over the top self centered diva complex.

  16. Origin says:

    Shut up Julius.

  17. Julius says:

    Whoa. I hope that a blog that invites opinion and intelligent debate aspires to more than “shut up”. That’s your culminating argument for anyone you disagree with Origin? You’re an embarrassment man. I guess your tenure here has gotten to your head, giving you the impression you have the right to be an ignorant dope. Well, I just hope TSF’s admins recognize that an otherwise cool place like this has no room for idiotic stuff like “shut up” if you disagree with something.

  18. Okori Wadsworth says:

    Julius, you are lucky this isn’t one of my posts.

  19. Julius speak for yourself. There really wasn’t a response to what you commented because as usual you are all about dissent. This isn’t ESPN or FOX so we don’t do the negative troll stuff here. We’ve had this conversation before.

  20. Miranda says:

    Origin, you know how there are some people that just need to be contrary for the sake of being so? You know that person…the one that can’t figure out why he always finds out about the get-togethers a day late? The one that when folks see’em coming they mutter “awwww…damn”….that one grandchild that even Big Mama can’t stand.

    Hey Julius!

  21. PurpleShag says:

    Here’s a cool article on the trials & tribulations of Ms S.Williams.
    http://therestijustsquandered.com/2011/09/12/grand-slam-sam-and-the-world-according-to-williams/
    check it out. It is nail on the head type stuff

  22. @Purple Shag. I’ll approve your comment this one time but in the future add some commentary and not just shamless plug links to your site. You know the rules.

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