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Good on Serena for speaking out, but white males in particular needs to be speaking out against this, and other similiar kinds of sic behaviour in professional sports as well. Maybe an ITF boycott is needed here.
Serena Williams shuts down tennis chief’s “racist, sexist” remarks
The response to the Russian tennis chief's remarks shows a welcome move for tolerance
Serena Williams (Credit: AP/Mike Groll)
When you’re two of the greatest professional athletes in the world today, you know what you get for your accomplishments? A lot of entitled, snarky crap.
On Sunday, Serena Williams spoke out about Russian tennis chief Shamil Tarpischev’s recent comments on the late-night show “Evening Urgant” – remarks that earned him a$25,000 fine by the WTA Tour and a one-year suspension from tour involvement. Referring to them as the “Williams brothers,” Tarpischev said, “It’s frightening when you look at them. But really you just need to play against the ball.” He then dug himself in further by explaining to the Associated Press that the program was “a humorous show,” and that “I don’t answer stupid questions.” His foot-in-mouth performance then culminated in the poorly executed mea culpa, “I’m sorry that the joke which was taken out of context and attracted so much attention.”
Speaking to reporters prior to the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore, Williams said, “I think the WTA did a great job of taking initiative and taking immediate action to his comments.” She added, “I thought they were very insensitive and extremely sexist as well as racist at the same time … I thought they were in a way bullying.” Maria Sharapova has added her voice to the conversation as well, saying of the comments, “I think they were very disrespectful and uncalled for, and I’m glad that many people have stood up, including the WTA. It was very inappropriate, especially in his position and all the responsibilities that he has not just in sport, but being part of the Olympic committee. It was just really irresponsible on his side.” And speaking from Singapore as well on Monday, Tennis legend Martina Navratilova called out the International Tennis Federation and said, “The silence from the ITF has been pretty deafening. They are the ones who have actually the possibility of doing something, as Tarpischev is head of the Russian Tennis Federation, which falls under the ITF and is also Fed Cup captain which falls under the ITF. The WTA has done all they can do. They certainly have shown they have Serena’s back and Venus’ back and he might have thought the comment was funny but it was anything but. Certainly this kind of bullying comment cannot be tolerated from anyone, but particularly from a high up official in the tennis world.”