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Women and Anger: Serena's Outburst at the US Open

Women and Anger: Serena's Outburst at the US Open

Anger in tennis is not without precedent: Jimmy Connors and John "Superbrat" McEnroe were criticized for their oncourt outbursts at linespeople when they didn't agree on a call; they were also beloved for their passion. But a couple days ago at the US Open when Serena Williams disputed a call by getting in the linesperson's face and allegedly telling her she wanted to shove a tennis ball down her throat, some people didn't think that her punishment was enough.

Williams was fined the on-site maximum $10,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct and $500 for racket abuse, and her action caused her the match point. Kim Clijsters went on to win the match and ultimately the US Open.

Some say Serena's endorsement deals are not in jeopardy, and the crowd booed a reporter who insisted Williams address the issue after winning the US Open doubles match with her sister. But tennis historian Bud Collins was quoted as saying that he couldn't believe that Serena got to play doubles, and that she should be suspended for the rest of the year.

I am shocked that an athlete of Serena's caliber would say something like that in anger, and emotional outbursts or threats make me look askance at the person freaking out. I'm curious though, do you think people are more shocked when they see women get angry than when men flip out?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
sloane220 sloane220 7 years
oh please, there's been a racist sentiment against the williams sisters from the beginning, from them being called monkeys at matches to not getting the same amount of endorsements as blonde haired blue-eyed white women like kourkova and sharpova despite being ahead of them in rankings. @chrstne, there is such a thing as racialized gender discrimination, women of color are often discriminated against differently and stereotyped differently then white women. i believe this was a gender and racial issue, with serena williams not given the same latitude and praise as john mcenroe. i think the judge made a bad call and shouldn't be allowed to judge at u.s. open's in the future. i think serena should have faced some sort of sanction and she did, so i think thats enough. that ass of a reporter bud collins can go screw himself.
cherryblossom cherryblossom 7 years
who wouldnt get angry, i know i would, i mean its a high stress, high emotion situation and youre going to get tense and emotional and be a bit rash no matter how sophisticated you are. i guess the thing that would get you in trouble is the "threat" of physical violence about shoving a tennis ball down your throat, if serena williams said that to me i think i might believe her, i mean girl is a tank.
HoneyBrown1976 HoneyBrown1976 7 years
Easton, please. If you are an avid tennis fan, that was DEFINITELY not the worse! I've seen John McEnroe throw his racket, use profane language, and act literally like a child for years!!!!! He is famous for those tantrums.
Chrstne Chrstne 7 years
People get angry and fly off the handle. I understand she displayed poor sportsmanship, but she was just being human. I agree that men tend to get off a bit lighter, but people seem to think men losing their temper is "normal" and "okay". This is in no friggen was a racist issue. I swear, anything and everything you do makes you racist. I do think it's all a gender issue. She's a woman, she's supposed to be level-headed at all times, and she gets screwed when she loses her cool. But they certainly put her in her place ;)
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
I agree men in team sports especially get off so easily when it comes to this behavior. I'd like to see mothers protesting outside these venues calling them to be better role models for their sons.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 7 years
Am I shocked? No. Why would I expect her to behave any differently from any other human in that emotionally heightened situation. It's kind of stupid to expect another human to be better than you because they are a famous athlete or entertainer. People act in the heat of the moment. If we didn't we would all be dead.
fuzzles fuzzles 7 years
I agree with hypno.Part of being an athlete, particularly at that level, involves the ability to respond to disappointment with grace an professionalism.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
As much a fan I am of the Williams sisters and all they've done for the sport I think she got what she deserves. Anyone who locks eyes with you takes an aggressive stance while walking towards you in front of millions of people and say I'm going to shove this F'ing ball down your throat has lost all sight of reason and civility and needs to be smacked back into reality. As her apology suggests she let her passion get the best of her and that's basically it. Let it be a lesson learned.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
Yes, people are more shocked when women are angry than when men are. When John McEnroe flipped-out ("You cannot be serious!"), that was celebrated. Was he ever fined?? Was there ever talk that he be suspended for a year?? Yes, it is a sexist issue. And yes, it's unfair. You know what they say about life -- sometimes it unfair. :)
Vanonymous Vanonymous 7 years
i really didn't think it was that big of a deal. she was fined and missed the chance to win. i think that is punishment enough. think about sports like soccer and baseball. they are constantly screaming at the refs/umps. if you're passionate about your sport, it happens. no big deal.
kia kia 7 years
It could be a sex issue. It could be a race issue. It could just be people are upset by her lack of professionalism at that instance. I have no idea. It is so hard to gauge why people react the way they do.
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