Serena Williams Was Fined $17,000 For Her Actions During The U.S. Open Final, As Tennis Doubled Down On Its Own Stupidity
In my personal opinion, the time and place for a heated discussion about double standards in a particular professional sport is not on the field of play during the late stages of said sport's nationally televised championship match. Call me crazy, but hashing out the intricacies of a rulebook, that's apparently filled with nothing more than strong suggestions when it's enforced during men's matches, is probably best done behind closed doors, as opposed to in front of a crowd of tens of thousands of customers who - by and large - paid to see the aggrieved party.
Unfortunately, therein lies the problem, for tennis is the only highly tense and competitive sport played head-to-head between athletes that have dedicated their entire lives to it that could manage to set a scene in which it makes even a sliver of sense for the biggest of stars to turn brightest of stages into a public forum for feminism.
To the casual viewer, it's not about Serena Williams arguably going overboard in receiving coaching...from her coach(?), or smashing her racquet, or demanding an (unnecessary) apology before calling the chair umpire a liar and a thief. It's about said chair umpire proceeding to prove he's exactly that by stealing a full game from Serena Williams, stealing the moment from the young woman - Naomi Osaka - who went on to make history as the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam, and stealing the intrigue from a viewing audience that wanted to see the most high stakes of match decided in its totality by...::audible gasp::...those actually participating in it.
I know that professional tennis, as an entity, doesn't think that its shit stinks, but the crappiest thing that happens in sports is when officials have a highly circumstantial impact on the outcome of a game, never mind literally having a statistical impact on the outcome of the game. We're ready to replace baseball umpires with robots because we're fed up with their strike zones, and tennis umpires are out here doing the equivalent of retracting turns at-bat during Game 7 of the World Series due to bad behavior. If that's not a sign that your holier than thou code of conduct needs the stick removed from its tight (predominantly) white ass then I don't know what does.
Assuming that all coaches do...wait for it...coach, and that the worst thing that a man has said to a chair umpire without punishment of (less important , given the length of the match) points is probably a bit more abusive than words that didn't even require censoring on cable, I'd imagine that a pretty clear double standard does exist. That, however, isn't my biggest problem with what took place during the US Open Final, as Serena Williams wasn't exactly as innocent as the soapbox from which she spoke would indicate...
My biggest problem is that clouds were voluntary introduced unto an event in which a well-deserved star was being born. You want to fine the person that's currently keeping one half of the damn sport afloat for being complicit in turning it into a bit of sideshow then fine...I guess, but at least let the match play out on its own volition first. To varying degrees, we all lost on Saturday, and it was due to the thin-skinned authority of someone who had nothing to win but some attention, and the sport that ultimately sided with the most replaceable person involved in it.