Serena is right. I was there. And worse, he was baiting her. https://t.co/CinW6AJJNo
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) September 8, 2018
I may not know much about tennis, but there’s few women lucky enough to have avoided the “Smile, Bitch, or Else” moment when some petty little pocket tyrant gets to hold our job / career / life hostage. I’m gonna assume it’s even worse for Black women, because the combination of racism and sexism usually is. And it wasn’t just Serena Williams the pismire was punishing for his own failures, either. Sally Jenkins, in the Washington Post:
Chair umpire Carlos Ramos managed to rob not one but two players in the women’s U.S. Open final. Nobody has ever seen anything like it: An umpire so wrecked a big occasion that both players, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams alike, wound up distraught with tears streaming down their faces during the trophy presentation and an incensed crowd screamed boos at the court. Ramos took what began as a minor infraction and turned it into one of the nastiest and most emotional controversies in the history of tennis, all because he couldn’t take a woman speaking sharply to him…
When Williams, still seething, busted her racket over losing a crucial game, Ramos docked her a point. Breaking equipment is a violation, and because Ramos already had hit her with the coaching violation, it was a second offense and so ratcheted up the penalty.
The controversy should have ended there. At that moment, it was up to Ramos to de-escalate the situation, to stop inserting himself into the match and to let things play out on the court. In front of him were two players in a sweltering state, who were giving their everything, while he sat at a lordly height above them. Below him, Williams vented, “You stole a point from me. You’re a thief.”
… Ramos has put up with worse from a man. At the French Open in 2017, Ramos leveled Rafael Nadal with a ticky-tacky penalty over a time delay, and Nadal told him he would see to it that Ramos never refereed one of his matches again.
But he wasn’t going to take it from a woman pointing a finger at him and speaking in a tone of aggression. So he gave Williams that third violation for “verbal abuse” and a whole game penalty, and now it was 5-3, and we will never know whether young Osaka really won the 2018 U.S. Open or had it handed to her by a man who was going to make Serena Williams feel his power. It was an offense far worse than any that Williams committed. Chris Evert spoke for the entire crowd and television audience when she said, “I’ve been in tennis a long time, and I’ve never seen anything like it.”…
Ramos had rescued his ego and, in the act, taken something from Williams and Osaka that they can never get back. Perhaps the most important job of all for an umpire is to respect the ephemeral nature of the competitors and the contest. Osaka can never, ever recover this moment. It’s gone. Williams can never, ever recover this night. It’s gone. And so Williams was entirely right in calling him a “thief.”
Naomi Osaka talking about playing against her idol.
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) September 10, 2018
Last night wasn't just about humiliating Serena Williams.
— Soraya Nadia McDonald (@SorayaMcDonald) September 9, 2018
Rebecca Traister, at NYMag, on “What Rage Costs A Woman”:
… [I]n making the coaching call, in the midst of a match she was playing against a newcomer who looked likely to beat her fair and square, the umpire insinuated that Serena was herself not playing fair and square. That made her livid. And one thing black women are never allowed to be without consequence is livid.
Of course she was mad! She was enraged by being called a cheater, furious at the suggestion that her stature, in this sport that has made her feel so unwelcome even as she has dominated and redefined it, has in any way been anything other than earned. And so, breathless with rage, she said, “I don’t cheat to win; I’d rather lose.” Over and over, she repeated, sometimes pointing her finger at him, “You owe me an apology. You owe me an apology.”…
Perhaps the most heartbreaking moment on Saturday night was watching Serena Williams work to clean up the mess. After losing to Osaka — 16 years her junior, Haitian-Japanese, looking traumatized at having beaten her childhood idol to win her first Grand Slam in such a perverted fashion — Williams stood beside her as the stadium erupted in boos. Williams spoke to the crowd, asked them to stop booing. “I just want to tell you guys she played well and this is her first Grand Slam. Let’s not boo anymore. We will get through this. No more booing. Congratulations, Naomi.” Williams was working to ensure that young Osaka was getting what some in tennis have had such a hard time offering her: respect, pure admiration, and the acknowledgment that her remarkable achievement was earned and legitimate. Both women were crying.
This has been the ask of women, and most especially, of nonwhite women, since the beginning of time: Take the diminution and injustice and don’t get mad about it; if you get mad, you will get punished for it, and then you will be expected to fix it, to make sure everyone is comfortable again.
In her press conference, Williams said, her voice again breaking, “I just feel like the fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions and that wants to express themselves and they want to be a strong woman and they’re going to be allowed to do that because of today. Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s gonna work out for the next person.”…
"The WTA believes there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men v women & is committed to working with the sport to ensure that all players are treated the same. We do not believe that this was done." https://t.co/Wg0jooOFB5
— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) September 10, 2018
I wrote about Serena.
“That her comments were perceived by Ramos as abusive is a result of who Serena is. Black women are often seen as “abusive” when we are simply stating an opinion, pointing something out, or advocating for equal treatment.” https://t.co/y1Inf5sDzn
— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) September 10, 2018
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 9, 2018
One of my least favorite things about the patriarchy is partly what Serena Williams talked about: there is this fiction that women are emotional and irrational, compared to rational, cool-as-a-cucumber men. Except when women get upset, we don’t shoot up schools and churches.
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) September 9, 2018
— i talk music & Falcons football (@Its_Tribblez) September 9, 2018