There was nothing serene about Serena Williams at this year’s U.S. Open, with her on-court tantrum taking the spotlight away from the winner, Naomi Osaka. But the incident also should shine a spotlight on the wider problems it reflects — namely, political correctness and the growing contempt for rules.
For those unacquainted with the story, Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, violated the code of conduct by using hand signals to coach his player from the seating area during Saturday's women's final. Williams received only a warning for this — but she wouldn’t let it go. Becoming irrational, she demanded an apology from the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos. She continued in this vein and was consequently issued a point penalty for bad behavior, after which she called Ramos a “thief” (video below). Williams also broke her racquet during the incident, ultimately was penalized a game, and later was fined a total of $17,000 for her three code violations. She lost to Osaka 6-2, 6-4.
But most striking is the affair’s aftermath. The Women’s Tennis Association and U.S. Tennis Association both backed Williams, with the latter praising her post-match conduct. I’m a former tennis professional, mind you, and I’ve never before seen these organizations thus throw an umpire under the bus and, acting as if rules didn’t exist, side with a misbehaving player.
This incident took place on a tennis court in Flushing Meadows, NYC, yet it reflects a problem far bigger than sport. Just consider the demonization of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and the police in general, the latter occurring most noticeably during the Obama administration.
As with umpire Ramos, ICE agents merely do their jobs: enforcing rules/laws created by the powers that be. Despite this, they’ve been cast as villains (in their case for political gain) by people far more wealthy and powerful than they. New York Democrat gubernatorial hopeful Cynthia Nixon actually called ICE a “terrorist organization” while N.Y. Democrat attorney general contender Zephyr Teachout went even further, vowing to prosecute ICE agents.
Calling this troubling is an understatement. To say immigration laws should be changed is one thing. Saying the no-coaching rule at Grand Slam tennis tournaments should be rescinded, as ex-champion Billie Jean King suggested, could be discussed. But demonizing those placed in enforcement positions merely because they enforced the rules on the “wrong people”?
That’s what happens in a banana republic.
Slamming people for doing their jobs results in, well, people not doing their jobs. For instance, after years of impugning cops, unfairly calling them “racist,” and sometimes charging them unjustly and ruining their lives, we’re now seeing the phenomenon of “de-policing” — cops reducing their law-enforcement activities, especially in minority neighborhoods.
Similarly, tennis umpires are reportedly considering boycotting Williams’ matches. As CBS Sports tells us “‘The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA,’ [retired umpire Richard] Ings said on Tuesday, via ESPN. ‘They are all fearful that they could be the next Ramos.’” Do you see where this contempt for standards is taking us?
As with ICE and the police (and most every issue today), Williams and her enablers are pulling the prejudice card. They assert that the male players are held to a lower standard. Yet while men do often get away with verbally abusing umpires, even the liberal Guardian admits, “So do some women.” Moreover, Williams “has history herself,” at the U.S. Open in 2009, for instance, the paper continues.
But does the blame lie with Ramos or the umpires not enforcing the rules? It’s a declining civilization that applauds goldbrickers while deriding the diligent.
But this isn’t the only thing people get backwards. There is prejudice here — but in favor of Williams. Do you think we’d even be talking about this now were she a white player, and especially a white man?
On a related note, Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper was accused of “racism” for criticizing Williams via a caricature, one said to reflect Jim Crow-era black images. But the nature of a caricature is that it exaggerates people’s features. Yet because of political correctness, this cartoonist’s artistic device is “virtually off-limits when it comes [to] African-Americans and other victim groups as designated by the Left,” notes American Thinker.
This is true and, among other things, represents the infantilization (again, for political gain) of black people. Do they need paternalistic leftists to insulate them from what to others is just normal life?
This is also destructive because it puts a barrier between the races. Consider: If you knew a person you couldn’t really be honest with and had to walk on eggs around, could you ever enjoy the closeness of true friendship? It’s ironic that leftists hate walls — except when they erect them among groups and create division.
Speaking of divisiveness, Ramos was accused of “sexism,” but it’s those leveling the charge thus guilty. Why? Because they wouldn’t be making the accusation were Ramos not a man.
This is generally the case. In the matter of ICE, the police, and President Trump, for instance, “racism” allegations wouldn’t be hurled were the accused not white.
This is the truth in our topsy-turvy world. Another even more tragic truth is that social pressure works wonders — even when it’s the wrong kind. A Mexican-descent friend once told me that being rich in Mexico was great because the laws generally wouldn’t be applied to you. If we keep pressuring people to not do their jobs and ignore the rules, that’s precisely how we’ll end up: being not a nation of laws but one of men and money.
Photo of Serena Williams: AP Images