Serena Williams was penalized for having high emotions during the U.S. Open
The U.S. Open match on Saturday between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka was packed with emotion, tears, and ridiculous double standards. Williams was handed three code violations, two of which were given for getting heated on the court, and lost the game as a result. People on Twitter were quick to point out that male tennis players don’t face the same consequences for getting angry during a game.
The trouble first started when the chair umpire Carlos Ramos issued Williams a code violation for coaching signals. She got frustrated and broke her tennis racket on the court, which earned her another violation. Williams then called Ramos a “thief” which cost her a third and final violation, and ended the game.
People quickly took to social media to point out that male tennis players do not suffer the same consequences when they get emotional or heated on the court. Many pointed out that men have called umpires a whole lot worse than “thief.” Others noted that while it did look like Osaka would have won the game, Williams deserved to lose fairly.
Andre Agassi yells at an umpire and screams “son of a bitch” at the US Open.
Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka deserved an umpire who knows better than to take points and games away in a Slam final. https://t.co/vZa3hv4CY2
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) September 8, 2018
Would be nice if some of Serena’s male counterparts had her back and admitted they’ve said a lot worse to the umpire. I know I’ve heard A LOT worse from NBA players directed at refs.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) September 8, 2018
Serena Williams didn't have a meltdown. She defended her honor on one of the grandest stages in a sport she's dominated for her entire adult life that continually disrespects her. Don't reduce her justified frustration to sexist behavioral stereotypes.
— Travon Free (@Travon) September 8, 2018
People my age and older remember John McEnroe. That’s why we know this is bullshit. That dude raged constantly.
— roxane gay (@rgay) September 8, 2018
And I do think Naomi was going to win the match. But she deserved to win fairly as Serena deserved to lose fairly. Look at that poor girl crying because she knows how poorly this was handled. Serena is being classy because she is the GOAT.— roxane gay (@rgay) September 8, 2018
Real talk: I’m with Serena on this. I have seen men say and do way worse on the court and not get penalized the way she was #USOpen
— LZ Granderson (@LZGranderson) September 8, 2018
Tennis legend Billie Jean King weighed in and summed the issue up perfectly.
(2/2) 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. Thank you, @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 9, 2018
As a side note: it was a painful, uncomfortable moment when Williams and Osaka took to the stage after the game. The crowd booed, Osaka was crying, and Williams was upset. But then in a beautiful moment of solidarity, Williams put her arm around Osaka to comfort her and all the ugliness disappeared for a moment.
Serena putting her arm around Naomi Osaka as the crowd boos is quite a moment. (via ESPN) pic.twitter.com/BjlDH13F1z
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 8, 2018
It’s not the first time Williams has been subjected to sexism on the court, and it surely won’t be the last. Williams stood her ground at a press conference afterward and noted that what happened during that match was indeed a double standard.
“I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say ‘thief,’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief,'” she said. “For me, it blows my mind. But I’m going to continue to fight for women.”