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Tennis Umpires Reportedly Discuss Boycotting Serena Williams' Matches

Williams standing up to sexism is creating a fear of culture change.

REUTERS

As a Black woman, and tennis superstar, Serena Williams has experienced racism and sexism in her profession, repeatedly. And now, umpires may collectively come against her for calling out sexism and boycott her matches.


Williams dared to question chair umpire Carlos Ramos' issuing code violations during her US Open match on Saturday against Naomi Osaka, and accused him of sexism when given a game penalty after calling him a "thief" for taking away a point. Williams argued that male players have said worse to umpires without penalty.

Umpires are reportedly discussing a boycott because of what they feel is a lack of support for Ramos by tennis associations.

An anonymous source told The Times of London that there was a growing consensus that the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) did not support umpires, and Ramos was "'thrown to the wolves for simply doing his job and was not willing to be abused for it.'"

WTA CEO Steve Simon said, in a statement, on Sunday the association "believes there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs. women, and is committed to working with the sport to ensure that all players are treated the same."

This, apparently, has umpires feeling "abandoned."

"The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA," Richard Ings, a retired elite Gold Badge umpire told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "They are all fearful that they could be the next Ramos. They feel that no one has their back when they have to make unpopular calls."

They are fearful to be the next Ramos?

The International Tennis Federation (ITF), Ramos' employer, publicly backed him on Monday. He will return to the umpire's chair for this weekend's Davis Cup clash between Croatia and the U.S.

What they fear is culture change in the sport.

"I just feel like the fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions and that want to express themselves and want to be a strong woman," Williams said on Saturday.

"They're going to be allowed to do that because of today. Maybe it didn't work out for me, but it's going to work out for the next person."

She incurred a total of three code violations on Saturday for alleged on-court coaching, smashing her racket, and "verbal abuse." The US Open fined her a total of $17,000.

And she's also been the subject of a racist cartoon and banter.

Related Story: Jesse Jackson Calls Racist Serena Williams Cartoon 'Despicable'

USTA has backed Williams' claims of sexism after she was given a game penalty. The CEO of the USTA, Katrina Adams, said in a statement that she supports her, and there is a double standard in tennis.

"In my opinion, right now, yes, and it probably always has been," Adams said on "CBS This Morning" Tuesday.

Former world No. 1 player Billie Jean King said, in a column last week, that she believes Ramos treated Williams differently than male players have been treated.

Both James Blake and Andy Roddick tweeted that they've said worse things to umpires, but were not penalized.

The Conversation (1)
Michele12 Sep, 2018

Well if they boycott; they must boycott all matches!

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The viral video should have been all the evidence needed.

UPDATE: Sept. 17, 2018

Almost a week after a white man pulled a gun on Black college students, which was clearly detailed in a viral video, a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

"After reviewing all of the evidence and consulting with the State Attorney's Office, a warrant was obtained for Donald Crandall, Jr.," the Tallahassee Police Department said in a statement.

The warrant, issued on Friday, is for violation of a state law against improper exhibition of a firearm.

As of Monday, Crandall was still not in custody.

On Sept. 8, the 49-year-old attempted to prevent the four Florida A&M University (FAMU) students from entering an elevator in the Stadium Centre apartment complex. The complex's management said Crandall is not a resident of the building.

"Once we found out he had the gun, it turned into a whole different situation," FAMU student Isaiah Butterfield told ABC News. "We really think he was trying to provoke us to the point where it got violent so he could retaliate with the gun.

"I knew that if this dude even feels threatened, he's going to find any excuse to pull the trigger."

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Hundreds, even thousands of #WhileBlack stories have swept the nation. You made yet another truth viral with over 90,000 views: Black Restaurant Owner Arrested for Helping Unconscious White Woman Sues NYPD.

Recently, Clyde Pemberton, a businessman in #HarlemWhileBlack, decided, along with his employees to make #WhileBlack legal, literally, and hold the NYPD accountable for arresting them for helping a white woman.

The Harlem MIST owner's lawsuit blatantly states that he was a "conscientious business owner while Black", and his employees were arrested for "being helpful employees while Black."

They want justice for living their lives, trying to help people, and being punished and forever changed because of it. Investors are gone, business is suffering, and he and employees want nothing to do with the police now.

While many stories have been about police and emergency response personnel being annoyed about having to respond to calls about Blacks living their lives, like The Science Behind Why White People Call Police on Black People for Doing Ordinary Things, many also involve the men and women in blue, who act unprofessionally and downright racist in their #WhileBlack perpetuation.

We've covered it in corporate settings, everyday settings, police interactions; we've talked to experts about the phenomenon. #WhileBlack and the fear of a racial group losing its majority status have impacted the country's behavior:

"For people of color, our concern is that we're on guard for discrimination coming toward us. And for whites, the concern is 'Whatever I'm about to say it may be landing in a way where the person perceives me as racist.' So they double down because they don't want to admit a particular bias or slant," said Alexis McGill-Johnson, executive director and co-founder of Perception Institute.

There are infinite stories out there, and it's time to hear from you, because we know #WhileBlack is happening to you.

Join The Conversation below, or send us an email, tweet, Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn reply and tell us: What is YOUR #WhileBlack story?


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