Poor Sportsmanship? Or Calling Out Sexism?

September 15, 2018

It was a first for women’s US Open champion Naomi Osaka. At twenty years old, she beat Serena Williams and claimed her first grand slam title. What’s more is that she’s the first US Open champion from Japan. This should have been the highlight of this year’s US Open; instead, the drama between Serena Williams and chair umpire Carlos Ramos stole the show. During the game, Williams’ coach was accused of giving her hand signals. In other words, he was accused of coaching her while she was playing, which is a no-no at the US Open. Later, Williams was docked a point for breaking her racket in a fit of frustration. If that wasn’t a lot of drama already, this is what had the world talking: After the point was docked, Williams approached the chair umpire and said, “You stole a point from me and you are a thief.” In response to that, Ramos issued Williams a game penalty for verbal abuse. Caught all that?

After the final match, Williams spoke out about how much sexism still exists in the world of professional tennis, and how Ramos’ reaction to her calling him a thief was a prime example. “He’s never taken a game from a man because they said thief. For me, it blows my mind. But I’m going to continue to fight for women,” said Williams. Some former professional tennis players like Billie Jean King supported Williams, but others thought that Williams acted unsportsmanlike (Ramos was merely doing his job, after all) and turned her reaction into a women’s rights issue.

What do you think? Was Serena Williams’ response an act of poor sportsmanship, or was she reacting to the umpire for treating her differently because she’s a woman? Do you think there are biases in professional sports?