Serena is goat! Scapegoat.

There’s been considerable rumours floating around that Serena may face a two slam suspension for her “little” outburst. 

Talk about an overkill. Let’s see: she’s received the maximum fine available at a grand slam. She’s been forced to apologize. She was dragged through the mud by the media, only too eager to jump on her actions as a sign of unsportsmanlike behaviour. And don’t get me wrong, it was exactly that

What should’ve happened is that she should have been disqualified from the US Open doubles and stripped of her prize money there. That’s proportional punishment.

What should’ve also happened is that Serena should have issued a formal, contrite letter of apology straight after the incident. That’s proper damage control.

Of course, now the problem becomes that it’s too late for proportional punishment and too early to just let it go. From the moment the footfault was called, this incident has been a whole pile of wrong.


But even so, a 2-slam suspension is a massive overreaction. Yes. Serena swore at the lineswoman. She threatened US Open officials. Did anyone believe for a second that this was anything other than an empty threat made in the heat of the moment? It was ugly and reprehensible, but let’s not get too carried away and turn this into something it’s not.

What’s essentially being proposed in the Times article is that we make an example out of Serena. “See what happens when you don’t behave yourself?” Or as the Chinese would say, “kill the chicken to scare the monkey”.

Whatever that actually means. 

I remember hearing Mary Carillo argue after the incident about how Serena needs to be suspended, “things like that give a bad rep to tennis…”

Oh puh-leez. Because without Serena, the general public would never think that tennis players are a bunch of cashed-up brats prone to the occasional tantrum? 

Call me crass, but a bit of notoriety and controversy never hurt tennis. Nor any other sport. But I digress, this has nothing to do with impact and everything to do with blameworthiness.

Blameworthiness: only among Serena’s biggest haters would you find some sympathy for the idea that she should be suspended for 2 slams for the extent of her actions. 

Not to mention a more pragmatic opposition, which you justice-seekers probably don’t want to hear about: women’s tennis at grand slams is a total shithouse without Williams in the draw. 




12 responses to “Serena is goat! Scapegoat.”

  1. divinedevilxyz says :

    Very nice, even handed take on this one.
    Agree with EVERYTHING you wrote.

  2. Mia says :

    Agree with you on proportional punishment. Docking her for two slams will be punishing her and women’s tennis inordinately. Would the ITF really want the latter scenario?

  3. Trish says :

    Completely agree! This whole thing has gone on too long and I think the ITF would simply be bowing to pressure to DO something if they suspended her for two slams. I mean she was disqualified and paid a fine. I’ve read that the fine is pittance for someone like her, who cares if it is chum change, it’s the most they could fine her. Yawn!

    • dootsiez says :

      Yeah I agree Trish, “the fine is too small” argument is getting old, unless those people who argue it believe that Bill Gates and other rich people should all pay more parking fines because they’re chum change for him. *rolls eyes*

      The ITF played by the rules. What more do they want?

  4. Nicole says :

    This one’s really tricky. I *do* think that the punishment is too heavy handed. *But* everything goes viral these days. I mean within twenty minutes this clip was up on YouTube and Twitter went crazy about it. Which you can say “yay, tennis is relevant again” (If you’re in the US anyway), but this isn’t really the way you want tennis to be relevant again. It’s definitely a scapegoat problem, for sure, but the thing is, when you leave something unchecked, then how do you handle something when others do it in the future?

    Example: Monica Seles was quite noisy in the 90s. No one made her quiet down, even though that probably should have been considered a hindrance to the opponent. but she was so nice and sweet and good for women’s tennis, so she got a free pass. Now you have all these kids that have always screamed as they play, because no one ever told them not to. Because if Monica Seles can do it, why can’t everyone else? According to the screamers they can’t even play without screaming (which I don’t believe for a second) but Michelle Larcher de Brito earlier this year said that no one was going to tell her to stop grunting.

    So it kind of goes like this: The ITF really does not want people thinking that this sort of behavior is okay, especially from one of their top players that little girls look up to and want to become. Because of the way it was handled on site at the open, they’ve left themselves in an awkward position. She should have been defaulted from the whole tournament, but she wasn’t, and now they have to show everyone that they’re serious. Serena’s handling of the situation herself didn’t help matters, and I wonder if she had actually apologized *right* after the incident if it might have blown over a little differently.

    But we all know how the ITF feels about scapegoats (Reeshie & Martina H?). I think it might hurt them short term: we’ll be faced with more of this who is the real #1 junk if they do go through with it. But I think that long-term, it really does remind players that they have to maintain some control over themselves, and ultimately it seems to me that it helps to preserve the integrity of the game.

    • dootsiez says :

      I agree that the players need to know that certain behaviours are not okay, but I don’t think it needs to come at the expense of individuals. That is grossly unfair to the ones concerned. Imagine if you were Serena, you’d be asking yourself “why me? of all people?” Because she’s famous/not a huge favourite with the general public/happened to blow up during a grand slam semi. But what about the likes of Daniel Koellerer, who acts like this day in day out? Why *just* Serena?

      The price of “preserving the integrity of the game” shouldn’t come at the price of justice to human being. I’m not for sacrificing the individual for the “greater good”.

  5. JFK says :

    Okay that would be strange since she might be #1 soon,( or maybe she already is I don’t know) and she would be banned from 2 slams.

  6. Blue says :

    That is pretty harsh. She apologized and paid the penalty, what more do they want? If it is only a rumour, I hope it remains that way and leave it at that.

  7. Tashi says :

    Although I wouldn’t mind not having to see Serena for two slams the penalty is way harsh. The situation was horribly handled by both sides especially Serena who’s apology wasn’t even a real apology. Her penalty should’ve been greater but suspending her for two slams is going overboard.

  8. roadrunnerz says :

    I think a two slam suspension is INSANE. Way overkill.

  9. Liz says :

    I’m in total agreement. This whole matter should have been settled a long time ago — like when it happened! Why keep dragging it out?

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