Tennis CEO Steps Down After Sexist Remarks

Raymond Moore,CEO and tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open,has resigned from his position following his sexist comments about women tennis players, such as the athletes “should be down on their knees” to show gratitude to men.

“When I come back in my next life I want to be someone in the WTA because they ride on the coattails of the men,” Moore said during a press conference on Sunday. “They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky.”

Larry Ellison,BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament owner, this week released as statement saying he had accepted Moore’s resignation, effective immediately, asCEO and tournament director of thehigh-profilemen and women’stennis tournament, also known as The Indian Wells Masters held inIndian Wells, Calif.

Prior to the singles finals on Sunday, Moore, a 69-year-old former professional tennis player from South Africa, responded to a question of whether theWomen’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour should change its designation for the tournament in order to elevate its status.

Following his comments that women “ride on the coattails of the men,” he added:

“If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born because they have carried this sport. They really haveAnd now the mantle is being handed over to Djokovic and Murray and some others. You know, that’s good. We have no complaints. You know, we pay equal prize money ”

Moore then said the WTA has a handful of “attractive prospects” naming Garbie Muguruza and Eugenie Bouchard. And when asked if he meant physically attractive or competitively attractive, he said, “I mean both.”

He continued,” They are physically attractive and competitively attractive. They can assume the mantle of leadership once Serena [Williams] decides to stop.”

No. 1-ranked Serena Williams responded firmly to Moore’s sexist comments.

“Obviously I don’t think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that,” Williams said. “I think Venus, myself, a number of players if I could tell you every day how many people say they don’t watch tennis unless they’re watching myself or my sister I couldn’t even bring up that number.So I don’t think that is a very accurate statement.”

She added, “I think there is a lot of women out there who are more are very exciting to watch. I think there are a lot of men who are exciting to watch. I think it definitely goes both ways. I think those remarks are very much mistaken and very, very, very inaccurate.”

Related Story: Serena Williams, New York Times and Body Image

Williams played in the finals and lost to Victoria Azarenka.This is the first year Williams has played in the Indian Wells since 2001. She has beenboycottingthe tournament after she and her sister, Venus, experiencedfervent disrespect from the crowdwith an “undercurrent of racism.”

Tennis great and founder of the Women’s Sports Foundation, Billie Jean King, tweeted the following response to Moore’s comments:

King helped to establish the women’s tennis tour and has been a longtime advocate for equal prize money in tennis.

Indian Wells has provided equal prize money since 2009. In his statement, Ellison, who is alsoCEO and co-founder of Oracle, addressed King’s contributions to equal rights for women in tennis:

Nearly half a century ago, Billie Jean King began her historic campaign for the equal treatment of women in tennis. What followed is an ongoing, multi-generational, progressive movement to treat women and men in sports equally.

Thanks to the leadership of Billie Jean, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams and so many other great women athletes, an important measure of success has already been achieved.

Moore, a former president of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), did apologize for his remarks on Sunday calling them “in extremely poor taste and erroneous.”

But after demands for him to resign, it was too little, too late.

TheATPeven called his comments, “disparaging and made in poor taste.”

However, Novak Djokovic, ranked world No. 1 in men’s singles tennis by ATP, said in aninterviewon Sunday he believes men deserve a greater monetary reward as their ticket sales and viewing statistics are greater.

Williams defended equal pay.

“If I have a daughter who plays tennis and also have a son that plays tennis, I wouldn’t say that my son deserves more because he is a man,”the 21-time grand slam winnersaid.”If they both started at three years old I would say they both deserve the same amount of moneyNovak is entitled to his opinion but if he has a daughter I think he has a son right now he should talk to her and tell her how his son deserves more money because he is a boy.”

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