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On Serena Williams: Conduct and Sportsmanship

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On Serena Williams: Conduct and Sportsmanship

Tyler Newkirk, a college student-athlete from Chicago, IL, is a practical journalism student at Lane College. He has been an extreme sports enthusiast for 20 years.

One of the hottest current topics in the sports world is Serena Williams and her “rant” during her controversial 2018 U.S. Open defeat against Naomi Osaka. Osaka, undoubtedly, played a great match against her childhood idol, but did she get a little help? Did Umpire Carlos Ramos help by changing the dynamics of the entire match? Was Ramos correct in his seemingly unjust or questionable rulings made on the court? More importantly, was Serena Williams in the right for expressing herself the way she did?

“Rather than remain silent, she insisted on being heard. Rather than contain herself, she used her rage for the countless women silenced by sexism and racism.” — Salamishah Tillet

In my opinion, Williams was in the right for expressing her frustrations. She was also further right in calling upon the gender biased double standards in which hold true, specifically in her sport of tennis. Serena conducted herself as any emotional athlete would who felt as if the official had made some kind of mistake, let alone, being the greatest tennis player of ALL-TIME. She began by calmly explaining herself, then proceeded to grow agitated as the umpire continued to ignore and give her the run-around. She eventually moved on, although visibly frustrated.

After losing her serve a few games later, Williams showed arguably the most frustration she has ever displayed in her career by breaking her tennis racket. This one move caused her a crucial loss of a point. While she did break her racket, this is nothing out of the ordinary in the world of tennis, especially for the opposing gender (men). It is perfectly okay for men to express themselves in a frustrating manner without getting docked any point(s), but it is suddenly a problem to be addressed by deduction when a woman does it??? Interesting. Not only just any woman, but the greatest tennis player of ALL-TIME, one who never loses her cool or shows her frustrations to these magnitudes despite her career-long challenges… WOW.

Even in the heat of the argument and her frustration, never once did Serena Williams use any profanity when pleading her case and calling the umpire out on his ego and decision making. Williams expressed herself in a far less threatening manner, verbally and physically, than any male tennis player arguing his side to an official. She was simply saying how unfair his ruling was and how these sorts of things have always seemed to happen to her, unjustly, too many times. Williams was arguing for not only herself but also for the women who were afraid to speak out against the sexist discrimination they were faced with.

Williams reacted the way she did because of the unfairness judged in this match specifically, but also due to the obstacles in which she has had to face off the court; mainly because she is an all-around strong curvy black female who happens to be respectively better than all the men who have ever played tennis. Serena expressed herself after the match by saying, “They’re (women) going to be allowed to do that (express themselves) because of today. Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person.” She helped to open up doors for all women, especially black women, who have always been regulated over their shapes, hairstyles, tennis outfits, etc. In particular, in the sport of tennis in which she has seemingly been the outcast.

In the end, she showed one of the utmost reasons as to why she is the greatest of ALL-TIME. Even after continuing to be upset with the poor excuse for an umpire, Carlos Ramos, she displayed nothing but true admiration and respect for the 20-year-old Osaka. She showered Osaka with a huge embrace and showed her the utmost love in what was a high-intense evening. She has even, presumably, taken Naomi Osaka under her wing and will continue to be a mentor, role model, and friend.

Nothing but mad love and respect for the G.O.A.T. Serena Williams.


Tyler N. – Chicago, IL

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