Serena Williams and the Theater of Public Apology

Her recent spat with — followed by olive branch to — Maria Sharapova was prudent but also pointless

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Jon Buckle / Getty Images

Serena Williams talks to the media during previews for Wimbledon Championships at Wimbledon on June 23, 2013, in London

There’s a moment toward the conclusion of the new documentary Venus and Serena when onetime tennis champion John McEnroe pulls Serena Williams aside to tell her that he thinks she got screwed by a bad call during Samantha Stosur’s upset of Williams at the 2011 U.S. Open final.

“I think you got screwed,” we hear him say. “O.K.? There’s no doubt about it. But then it’d have been way better if you’d just said it.”

(MORE: Sloane Stephens: America’s Next Great Tennis Hopeful)

The “it” McEnroe was referring to was certainly not what Williams jawed at the umpire during a changeover, calling the official seated some four feet above her a “hater,” “out of control” and cautioning her to look the other way if she ever spotted Williams walking down a hall.

“Why do I have to apologize?” we hear Williams ask McEnroe, after he tells her she’s “the best thing we have in tennis.” “I’m tired of apologizing. For something that’s not even like … I kinda feel, I just have people picking on me. I’m done.”

Done? Not really. Williams found herself in a tennis-court-size pot of hot water after victim-blaming comments about the teen victim of the Steubenville, Ohio, rape were published in a Rolling Stone profile of the recent French Open winner. According to the profile’s author, Stephen Rodrick, Williams also apparently took a veiled potshot at her sometime rival Maria Sharapova — who is reportedly dating one of Williams’ exes — and, on Sunday, she had to apologize to her too.

(MORE: Michelle Obama and the Delusion of Hecklers)

Was the Sharapova apology the right thing to do? Maybe. It certainly made headlines in the sporting press, and the only way to make them go away was to address them head-on. But just once, I wish that every potentially offensive utterance or intemperate remark by a famous person didn’t have to be accompanied by a hasty public prostration. As New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum (writing on Twitter about a certain other high-profile apology/nonapology shitshow from last week) put it, “the theater of public apology — and apology-analysis — is starting to freak me out.”

Agreed. In the same way that Paula Deen’s cringe-inducing Friday series of YouTube videos did nothing to convince anyone that the Southern-born evangelist for deep-fried food doesn’t harbor antiquated ideas about African Americans, perhaps it’s sometimes better for foot-in-mouth famous people to not say anything at all. (One imagines that Williams, sitting before the assembled reporters at the Wimbledon complex on Sunday, was in no mood to apologize to the lanky Russian, especially after Sharapova’s snarky comments the previous day about Williams’ reported current boyfriend, coach Patrick Mouratoglou. “If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship, and her boyfriend that was married, and is getting a divorce and has kids,” said the No. 3-ranked Sharapova. Ouch.)

Our expectations for these sorts of apologies mean that they often come across as scripted, predictable and, worse, insincere. Nor do most of these attempts at atonement communicate a larger truth, namely that fame, fortune and the immense expectations, privileges and pressures that accompany them can lead to or magnify a person’s ignorance and bad behavior. “I can barely understand how the Williams sisters haven’t lashed out under pressure a hundred times more than they have,” wrote Brian Phillips last September, in a tour-de-force essay on “Serena the Conqueror” in the online magazine Grantland. “The point is: It doesn’t matter, because Serena isn’t playing for your approval, doesn’t need your approval, and kind of turns the whole question of your approval into wasted breath.” Just let Williams and Sharapova play — it’ll all come out in the Wimbledon wash.

73 comments
mensa2
mensa2 like.author.displayName 1 Like

pwarn25, I find that this situation has just been blown out of proportion, and it is certainly not  Serena who contacted the media!, some sleaze ball overheard a personal telephone conversation, and reported on it, then  Maria had to add her 2 cents by making a statement that she does not know if it is TRUE! This is not a good time for this type if crap too service, I think it is deliberate, and vicious, especially while Maria is dating one of Serena's Ex's.  I hope that Serena continues her Steam-Roll and 'Win' Wimby again!, and close the door on Maria, who has not claimed an American status, and is still shunned by her Russian teammates.  But let's face it, this is a good opportunity for Maria to distract Serena!

BabeyCham
BabeyCham

@mensa2 

I hope Serena sees this for what it is and does not fall into the trap. I further hope that she meets Maria in the final and gives her another beat down like she did at the Olympics. That was a joy to watch.

pwarn25
pwarn25 like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @pangermeier See it's ignorant people like pangermeier that we as a society needs to watch out for. This lady has opened SEVERAL schools in Africa for the betterment of young ladies. I'm sure she's done more for young women and men than you could ever dream of, but she's a "failure as a human being"? She's disappoints you b/c she's a champion and you just harbor anger b/c you're most likely some loser. 

Fact:

1. Serena has been cheated on the tennis court more than any other player that has played the game and she's the MAIN reason why tennis has an electronic calling system AFTER a tennis official cheated her in front of millions during the 2004 US Open. Her and her hard work was sacrificed and she was barely even given an apology. I'm surprised she hasn't gone off more b/c I could list SEVERAL incidences in which she has been blatantly cheated. Can you list more than one incidence for Maria Sharapova? No. Roger Federer? No. Rafael Nadal? No. Steffi Graf? No. Martina Navratilova? No. Chris Evert? No. Not even John McEnroe.


2. John McEnroe made it a career of bashing his fellow tennis players on court...something Serena has never done. He also made himself popular by going after the officials for no reason. Something Serena's never done unless she was provoked. People think it's "cute" to cheat her, walk away, and then when she expresses her displeasure, you label her as "classless". 

3. People are just mad b/c you thought that she would have been smeared with steroid scandals by now. HA! She's been an Amazon beauty for almost her entire life. Even Andy Roddick said she was stronger than him at age 10. You people are just angry that she's still going strongly and refuses to roll over for untalented "IT Girls" like Maria. Too bad because isn't going anywhere anytime soon, so be mad...stay mad.


pangermeier
pangermeier

@pwarn25 @pangermeier  You should be careful using words like "ignorant".  And you have no idea what I've done for young men and women, have you?

I would never say anything like that about you. Shows a lack of class, in my opinion.

What Serena does in her private life should rightly be her business, alone. How she behaves on the world stage, with everyone watching, is how she'll be judged.


2013yourwelcome
2013yourwelcome

@pangermeier, Well that's the political arena you've placed yourself in when you deemed someone classless. But like the gentlemen before me told you, there is a air of self-righteousness in this discussion and the truth is that there is no one historically perfect, but when we imply that one must be classy because their being watched is quite classless. If your judging Serena classiness based on her public behavior but ignore her private one then don't judge her at all. However, with that one must also judge themselves which remains something we all fear. 

Karpova
Karpova

@pangermeier @2013yourwelcome I can't blame some whites for the constant hateration towards the GOAT - Serena; hell she has physically and mentally beat all your lame heros into the dust; Serena is sexy, a great athlete, and the has the best mind in the GAME!!! Poor Sharapova said she would be good too--if she had Serena's body?? She has Serena's ex-boyfriend---Sharapova is all Class...secondhand loser class.

pangermeier
pangermeier

@2013yourwelcome @pangermeier Well, I'm not the only one judging her by her public behavior. The entire tennis world is doing it. And when she goes on an ugly rant at some tournament in Europe I'm embarrassed to be an American. She is representing me (and you, and all of us here) as an American, and it horrifies me to know that those watching must wonder if  ALL Americans behave like spoiled brats. They find it ugly, and so do I.

No one watching that knows, or even gives a shot about what she does in private. This public Serena is all they know.


pwarn25
pwarn25 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Facts.

1. The journalist Stephen Rodrick is slime and set out to defame Serena on purpose. Serena had a PRIVATE conversation, he eavesdropped, asked her who she was talking about, she said she wasn't saying and he took it upon himself to guess Maria Sharapova.

2. Maria is  a hater. She's been taking shots at Serena for the past few months about Serena's body and build and Serena hasn't said anything nasty to her EVER. 

3. Serena apologized to Maria on the behalf of the journalist bringing Maria into the story, not bc she was actually talking about Maria, and if you follow tennis, no one didn't even know that Maria was with Dimitrov at the time the Rolling Stones article was written (March). Therefore, the slimy journalist WAITED until he could bring drama to publish the article. 

4. Predators and rapists are so happy at the negative reaction Serena got for her advice to young ladies and parents. They realized that people would rather cry "don't blame the victim" instead of having young ladies be aware of their actions. Predators are rejoicing over ppls stupidity.

5. I would rather have my daughters be forewarned and take personal responsibility, than to have to have her live with the fact she was raped or MURDERED b/c she allowed herself to be put in a reckless situation by drinking too much.

6. Most people reporting on this situation, including the author of this piece, just want FB and twitter followers, because you're less than a human being and a HORRIBLE parent if you chose to ignore Serena's advice and didn't pass it along to your own daughters. MOST DID, but are playing a hypocritical role to appease the masses. I guess ignorance begets ignorance

7. The rest of you claiming Serena is "classless" or "idiotic" or "manly" or on "steroids" have never liked her and you don't matter b/c she is still winning. You're mad she beats your fav and laughs in your face after she's done it. You will never like her but guess what. She hasn't lost not ONE ENDORSEMENT throughout her long and successful career, so you can keep hating. AND she's worth 100M dollars...hate even more. 

alicia1
alicia1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Thank you for this article! I was really inspired and glad to see people thinking outside of what is promoted or what is deemed politically correct! Great discussion...

2013yourwelcome
2013yourwelcome like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Wow, besides her comment which didn't bash the victim at all but merely tell her parents what all parents need to hear which is responsibility. This is why, tlc (I believed) created a show about raising your kids because for some odd reason the modern-day parent lacks that innate ability. And class? When did we start mixing tennis with class? Hmmm. Maybe when a particular black women turned the sport into her personal threshold, but hey lets stay classy. This is beyond non-sense, I think this is the time we realize that the word hater defines the crowd great black athelete are enshrouded in. Thank god she is getting paid because this self righteous bs would have driven me nuts.

Nathan123
Nathan123

Yeah, we really gotta take our celebrities less seriously, this is starting to get stupid.

ClaudellHaynes
ClaudellHaynes like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Shut the hell up all of u jealous of Serena including Maria S. Get a live.

kimmjoe
kimmjoe

What happens more frequently than a Lindsay Lohan need for rehab:

A public apology from Serena Williams.

ChristabelDarcy
ChristabelDarcy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@kimmjoe Stop being a mug by bringing Lindsay Lohan into this discussion and probably every discussion you've commented upon on the internet.. Leave Lindsay alone and stop trying to be sarcastic about Serena, you ain't that clever.

markdbernstein
markdbernstein like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Most public apologies, especially by sports figures are less than worthless. I don't care if Serena and Maria like each other and would be surprised if the did. What's next, basketball players have to apologize after every game for talking trash?  Just as it was Lebron James's goal to hurt Tim Duncan's feelings it is Serena's and Maria's goal to hurt the others feelings....by beating them on the court. The rest of the nonsense is  to enable the media to sell ads by acting like the creep we all knew in school who would run over to someone and tell them that little Johnnie said you were a no good so & so...what have you got to say to that???  It's really quite pathetic and can you please just return os to the action on the court. It's better in every way and no one needs to apologize.

pangermeier
pangermeier

In the end, it's all about legacy, about how you'll be remembered, and what you leave behind to make things better for those who follow (thanks, Martina N.).  It's about who you are as a human being (thanks, Chris E.). Those who compete at the highest level, and understand that, well, they know how to win, and lose, with class. 

Serena shows no sign that she will  ever be able to understand that. She's a great tennis player, and a failure as a human being. And we as fans have to decide what's more important to us (thanks, Tiger).



miraclem29
miraclem29

@pangermeier Chris Evert was never Brazenly cheated on a tennis court over and over again, either. Serena's been an ANGEL for nearly all of the 20 years of her career -- especially considering the rank bigotry she's encountered/

janlittle77
janlittle77

@pangermeier Ask yourself how will  you will be rememered by people that know you?  Likely a self righteous racist prig, a  hypocrite who enacts false standards for those you don't like.  Don't delude yourself into thinking your life could pass the scrutiny of being a public person.  You are very bitter.   Serena will be remembered as a humanitarian who has reached out to countless others in need & has never forgotent her roots.  She is warm, real & sensitive which is why she apologizes.  Serena will be remembered as a good humanitarian & a  great champion who revolutionized the sport pushing tennis to the nth degree.  She may indeed be the last great tennis champ America may produce.  The only human failure is you filled with bias, prejudice & an unreasonableness harshness that is mean-spirited.   This is why you can't appreciate what Serena has achieved as a player & human being.  You seek to exaggerate little flaws into mountains of human depravity.  You make yourself blind to her many good traits, deeds & characteristics.    So this means your view nor will negative reporting influence the legacy being created by Ms. Serena Williams.  People whose lives she has touched & the many who know her along with her achievements will determine how she will be remembered.  It is a fine legacy.


dee
dee like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@pangermeier This fan has decided that Serena's story, her fighting spirit, her work ethic, and the amazing tennis legacy that she has left behind is what is important to me.  Just like many other athletes before her she has said some stupid things, but if you look at the bigger picture they are really not that important in the grand scheme of things and for most other athletes are soon forgotten.  

This whole 'class' thing when it comes to Serena just sounds so racist to me, I am sorry.  Justine Henin cheated, yet somehow she has more 'class' than Serena.  Federer swore at a linesman, but he has more 'class' than Serena.  When other players say or do something stupid it is seen as a momentary lapse in judgment, when it comes to Serena it is the definition of who she is.  Anything she does right is ignored and forgotten and everything she does wrong is magnified.

So let me understand, after what Tiger woods has done in his private life... he has more 'class' than Serena?  Fascinating!!!!!


In the future people will look back at what Serena has accomplished and be puzzled by why fans and the media at the time gave her such a hard time.  She will have her place among the greats and it will be well deserved, she earned it.

Boudicca
Boudicca like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@dee @pangermeier Hear! Hear! I agree, the way Serena was treated at Indian Wells was shameful. What nation would actually cheer an opposing player from another country and boo and of their own countrymen? I couldn't believe what I was seeing and to actually suggest that a player would deliberately lose to facilitate her sister's passage - ridiculous!! Sharapova's comments would carry more weight if she'd actually beaten Serena since 2005!!!

miraclem29
miraclem29

@janlittle77 @Boudicca @dee @pangermeier ?!? Serena is Not a "bitter" person.  It was Sharapova who parked her stupid mug in front of TV cameras and tried to defame Serena's character because she can't beat Serena on a tennis court who proved she was bitter! Pam Shriver said that very thing on national tv and she is right. Sharapova set a horrible precedent for tennis. What does she think this is? Boxing? 

Serena was taking responsibility even though she did not even mention Sharapova's name and the "reporter" leapt to his own conclusions and admitted as much.  Serena shows just how much BETTER a person she is than the truly BITTER Maria Loserpova. Did you see her face when Serena lifted the French Open trophy this year?

  Sharapova's been hanging out with that jealous, racist witch Chelsea Handler, the same "woman" who crazily attacked a little 9 year-old black girl because of her hit song.  It was Willow Smith and her song "Whip My Hair" that had STOOPID Chelsea Handler up in arms. I wanted to shout in her vapid face, "It's a Metaphor!"  And again, the child was 9 years-old. What did wacko, skank Handler expect? Proust?

98% of the time, Handler's not even funny. She's just mean. And some of that racist meanness apparently rubbed off on her new "friend," Sharapova!

janlittle77
janlittle77

@Boudicca @dee @pangermeier Nope it still wouldn't cut it with me.  Her actions would still make her a bitter person even if she were a better rival.  It wouldn't change a thing.  She was wrong & knows all about the media.  She admitted in her infamous press conference that she's well aware of the media trying to stir the pot between them.  Sharapova meant to stir this pot all by herself.  IMO this is a tempest in a teacup.

pangermeier
pangermeier

@dee @pangermeier  Sorry, Dee, it has nothing to do with racism. You seem pre-disposed to believe it does.

You also missed the point completely on Tiger Woods. Go back and read it again. He's successful like her, but also fails as a person. Get it?

As far as the future you speak of, I think people will look back at both of them and understand perfectly why they struggled with the fans and media.

janlittle77
janlittle77

@pangermeier @dee is tiger the only unfaithful spouse who ever lived?  This is not about having no standards or weak morals.  It is about understanding human failings, frailties & that despite them people can & do achieve amazing things.  It is for these achievements that we admire athletes, scientists & others.  Sports players are people just like ordinary folks they have faults, failings bad marriages & shortcomings just like ordinary people.  We all have failings, weaknesses & things that can be exaggerated to make us look bad.  With a divorce rate over 60% there are a lot of flawed marriages that aren't famous. Tiger couldn't stop his wife from divorcing him--nobody can anymore.  Despite that marriage is supposed to be for life.  So the ex-wife was morally wrong to get a divorce.  You learn to work together enduring through a spouses flaws, betrayals & failings. The 2 grow to become 1.  No divorce. This is the moral position on marriage.  There is no excuse for people who aren't even devoutly religious to be so extremely rigid & judgmental.  I'm devoutly religious & the deeper my faith grows the more forgiving I grow becoming deeply aware of my faults past & present.  Ever thankful for God's merciful grace.  "Its a case of "He who is without sin cast the first stone."

TheThirdFriday
TheThirdFriday like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

A failure as a human being? Are you serious? You don't even know her personally? What has she done to YOU? We all make mistakes and put our foot in our mouths occassionally. The only difference between you and serena is that her every mistake is documented and scrutinized by self righteous people like yourself. Besides, Sharapova was NO BETTER for taking cheap shots right back at Serena. Not so classy herself.Please get off your high horse ad stop judging people.

randycool5858
randycool5858 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Serena is one of the greatest tennis players in the world but one thing she still havn't  learn yet and that is class she still has these childish bad temper out breaks  and foul mouth, i don't know if she will ever learn that but that's what makes her ugly.

miraclem29
miraclem29

@randycool5858 ?!?!  Serena Williams has been an ANGEL considering all the demonic racism that had been lobbed at her. Serena has been playing pro tennis for nearly 20 YEARS and only had a few lapses on a tennis court. Contrast that with (admittedly great player) John McEnroe, who spent his Entire Career like a cranky two year-old avoiding naptime!  The Jennifer Capriati types on tour were the ones who TAUGHT Serena to cuss.

Even when Serena was being cheated by that evil, rabidly racist umpire in the '04 U.S. Open vs. Capriati, the harshest thing Serena said was the mild word, "heck."  That umpire was so brazenly racist and so openly cheating for Capriati, that she was kept from officiating at any more matches during that tournament.  And "Instant Replay" was instituted the next year -- tho too late for Serena to have the chance to win the '04 U.S. Open -- obviously. Serena could have won many more majors but for rank, satanic bigotry!

Serena is normally a good person

SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

@randycool5858 

Well that and her ugly face and mannish body make her ugly.

miraclem29
miraclem29

@SukeMadiq @randycool5858 Get some glasses, Mr. Magoo. Serena Williams has the most WOMANLY, most voluptuously feminine figure on the women's tour. Our artists make manifest what we as human beings intuit at the cellular level: The Strongest Woman is the Most WOMANLY Woman. Artists always depict female superheroes with CURVES!  Goooo, Serena, GOOOO!

MrSims
MrSims

@randycool5858 To go further why does she get to run her loose mouth when women like P.Deen are fired? Maybe if anyone actually watched or cared about tennis it would be a hotter topic, but something smells of unequal opportunity

TheThirdFriday
TheThirdFriday

Here we go with the 'unequal opportunity ' crap. Paula Deen was HIRED by the food network and shopping network stations and if they feel that her racist cimments will cost viewers , they have every right to let her go. Serena's rants against other players is common place and fair game. They will not cost the league any fans or patrons. As long as Serena keeps winning and abides by the WTA rules, she will continue to play.

TheSirianExoPod
TheSirianExoPod like.author.displayName 1 Like

@randycool5858 Randy epitomizes the imbeciles in the comments section making irrelevant, inaccurate, dumb analogies regarding any class Serena Williams may, or may not have. Class is irrelevant. People just enjoy taking pot shots at Serena while she appears to be down.

If Serena was a man...class would not be mentioned as something she would require. Since shes a women however...

dee
dee like.author.displayName 1 Like

Here is Serena's apology for her remarks "

“I am deeply sorry for my insensitive and misinformed comments. It was not my intention to cause the victim and her family any additional pain. But I did, and I am sorry. I am grateful to them for the opportunity to personally apologize, and I am humbled by their strength, grace, and forgiveness.

“I also want to extend an apology to the millions of sexual assault victims in America whose pain could have been compounded by my inappropriate remarks. Rape and all forms of sexual assault are completely unacceptable, no matter the circumstances. Sexual assault perpetrated against women and men is never acceptable and *never* the fault of the victim.”

This is the official response by the Victim's family

Serena Williams reached out to the family of a victim in a rape case after the tennis star was quoted in a Rolling Stone article saying “she shouldn’t have put herself in that position.”

Williams, in England preparing for Wimbledon, spoke to the victim of the Steubenville, Ohio case, her mother and a family lawyer for about 30 minutes on Wednesday, the lawyer said.

“Serena was very nice, very sincere and it was a very well-received conversation among two women and a young lady,” attorney Bob Fitzsimmons said on Thursday.

And to be honest, as the remarks about 'someone assumed to be Sharapova' were made by Serena in a phone conversation to her sister that the reporter overheard, I am still having a hard time seeing why she needs to apologize for those remarks.

MargaritaHinksoni
MargaritaHinksoni like.author.displayName 1 Like

@dee Did I miss something here... I see only references to an apology from Serena... why no mention of an apology from Sharapova? She certainly has said some nasty things, personal stuff about Serena.  Yet no one is calling for her to apologise. How odd!

BabeyCham
BabeyCham like.author.displayName 1 Like

@MargaritaHinksoni @dee 

That would mean acknowledging the pot shots that Maria consistently slings Serena's way. But no worries. I prefer to see Serena take the apology out of Maria's hide on the court. It's a beautiful thing to watch.

TheSirianExoPod
TheSirianExoPod

Yeah boys and men shouldn't rape, even if intoxicated, and of questionable morality and soul. I'm so totally ok with any future daughters I may have getting blind drunk at parties with boys and grown men without proper supervision - because I'm so awesome, and because Feminists clearly said Boys and Men shouldn't rape, thus making Serena Williams wrong in her statements. Its not like Feminists are once again playing the Victim Angle for public exposure despite being completely wrong. I mean, thats totally not like them...

dee
dee like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

When I read these articles and many others about Serena I can't help but feel that the real apology that many in the tennis world want to hear from Serena, but never will, goes as follows: 
 
"I am so very sorry for existing.  
I am sorry that I am so darned good, that when I am healthy I blow the competition off the court. 
I am so very sorry that I don't look the way you feel a female tennis champion should look like, but am perfectly secure in both my femininity and my beauty.  
I am sorry that even though you give others consolation money in the form of endorsements, that I win more matches than any of them, more slams and am the only woman in the Forbes list of 100 richest athletes based on my talent and not on my looks. 
I am sorry that even when you try to beat me down I come back stronger than ever, more beautiful than ever and keep winning. 
I am sorry that I keep proving you wrong and that at 31 I am playing the best tennis of my life. 
I am sorry that I don't match the caricature you have created of me and that I am fully and unashamedly myself at all times. 
I am sorry that even though I am a black woman I feel that no body is inherently better than I am and that I am entitled to the same treatment that other women get. 
I am sorry that I exist and that I will never go away so that I don't challenge your narrow world view. 
 
You will never hear that apology and never should! Serena is #1, Serena is 31 and Serena is going strong. I am looking forward to Wimbledon and to some good tennis.  
 
If Serena wins amazing, if someone else wins great. If Sharapova can finally beat Serena and it is a good match Great. This is Sports people, not a life or death situation.

alicia1
alicia1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

@dee Thank you so much for explaining what some people feel or think without saying the actual words. I used to wonder how did Serena and Venus play such great tennis, especially early on in their careers under the glare of sheer hatred and utter contempt. They were never liked, before any bad press. The kept quiet and did their job. Serena didn't attack the tennis player who made mockery of her last year with her impersonation on the court. They fought for women to receive the same pay as men for winning Wimbledon and won! When were they ever America's sweethearts? Not after they won Olympic Gold or global titles as American citizens, many people want them to just disappear. Billie Jean King thinks highly of them, as well as other legendary champions of the sport. They have been this tennis era's BEST! Regardless of any controversy, people are going to hate Serena, she won't ever be enough or as flawless as you pretend others are (people you don't know or minimize or excuse unflattering behavior). They were taught that they were not "less than." It's obvious Serena and Maria aren't fond of each other, they're competitors, not shocking. Unless you know any of these celebrities firsthand, we can't comment on their level of class. If Serena made those grunting sounds and shrills like Sharapova does, you can believe she would be called on the carpet, even though other tennis players also use this technique. Diahann Carroll recently did a master class on the OWN network and she covered this very topic (exclusion, racism), it was outstanding! Racism is embedded in our culture, inferiority comes when one has a sense of entitlement or superiority. Just run your own race, attempt to do something stunning in your own life and then clap back! Maria is doing an outstanding job, as well as others, but there can only be one winner, Serena is still in the zone and has not left the building!

janlittle77
janlittle77

@alicia1 @dee The sisters have always had bad press following them.  There has never been a time when all the their press has been favorable.

amarshall54
amarshall54

What  Serena said about the rape victim is true ... underage girls should not be drinking until they pass out, simple as that.  That does not make what the boys did OK, or right in any way.  But if I was a young girl, I would not put myself in that position, so  to speak.  What Serena  should not do is comment on the personal life of a competitor in any circumstance in which it can become public.  And apologize ... forget it ... if you have to apologize, don't say it!  I'm am sick of a person with a big mouth saying something and then giving an insincere apology the next day.  Say it, or shut up!

Trini6739
Trini6739 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@amarshall54    -  Serena DID NOT say anything about Maria.   The reporter ASSUMED she was referring to Maria.  the reporter listened in on a private conversation and then wrote about it.   Slime that some of these reporters are.

And you Anna Holmes are not different.  Why not report the FACTS of the incident instead of ASSUMING you know the facts.   The reporter admitted he was the one who injected Maria's name and Serena apologized that she was dragged into the situation because of that ASSUMPTION.

It seems to me dishonesty in reporting is as classless and DISHONEST as you can get.    Just because you are covered by the first amendment does NOT give you the right to lie in your reporting.

duckee_88
duckee_88

Serena has been a classless act on and off the courts from the beginning of her career.  Serena could learn a thing or two from Sloan Stephens. People are more than willing to give Serena a pass based on race and her status as a great tennis player.  I am glad Maria stood up to that and gave her a taste of her own medicine.  When she threatened to stuff a tennis ball down the lines woman's throat in the most menicing way possible, it made me sick, who does that, what normal person does that, what parent teaches their kid that it's ok to make threats like that, what fans would support an athlete like that, is that what happens with "roid" rage?

alicia1
alicia1

@duckee_88 Serena just isn't the image that you can appreciate or admire. If Sloan Stephens encounters a winning streak lasting over a decade, demolishing the sports best worldwide, I seriously doubt if you'll be singing her praises or not find something negative to say! I often wish people could go undercover and walk in the shoes of others whether Muslim, Woman, Black or third world, then you would have an idea of the aggression, disdain and unfairness we induce onto others!

riccismiles
riccismiles like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I didnt find her comments to be "victim blaming". After every story about kids and rape (that is people 17 and under), I've always been amazed by the amount of BOOZE involved. If grown men are having issues making the right decision to NOT RAPE WOMEN, why do we expect our children to behave any better, especially in the case of alcohol abuse. SERENA said the girl could have had better judgement -YES- and that she is lucky something worse didnt happen to her -YES-. Her comments are ADULT and directed towards people who seem to have no issue with the amount of careless behavior exhibited by the OTHER ADULTS. WHY are their children drinking so much? WHERE are they? Who raises kids to run off and drink until they cant stand up? My parents didnt and most of my friends are the same. To me, she shouldnt have apologized, but I guess it means she'll make more money because we the people are kinda dumb.