It is not a shock when tennis players are overcome with anger that they smash their rackets but when Serena Williams does it she faces consequences.
By Monserrat Solis, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Serena Williams drew attention to the inequality women face in sports after tennis umpire penalized her for smashing her racket during US Open Finale — when male players have been throwing tantrums for years.
Women in all sports have received criticism for how they act, how they dress and how they play. Serena Williams, who was ranked no.1 in women’s singles on eight separate occasions from 2002 and 2017 and is probably the most well-known athlete, was penalized after the umpire thought she was getting coached from the sidelines and smashing her racket on the court. While men are popularized for their outbursts on the court, Williams was deducted a point by the umpire.
Billie Jean King, who revolutionized women’s tennis, came to Williams’ defense, calling her penalization a “double standard” over Twitter. King has spoken out and taken a stance on sexism in sports before, calling out how women are described as “emotional” while men are praised for being “outspoken” for the same actions.
Roger Federer, who has 30 men’s single Grand Slam titles, is known for being aggressive and moody on the court, and is one of the many male players who have thrown and smashed their rackets. Male players are constantly showing their emotions on the court but never labeled as emotional. Instead they are rewarded and seen as strong while women are seen as weak.
During this year’s U.S. Open Juan Del Potro argued with the umpire over a challenge and Del Porto never received a penalty. Even after the match point was lost, Del Potro was seen arguing and disrespecting the umpire. Many male tennis players have had far worse altercations with umpires and none of them have ever been penalized.
This issue is bigger than just Williams because women in all sports have been treated differently than their male counterparts. In 2014, the US men’s soccer team was awarded $35 million by FIFA after losing to Germany while the women’s team only received 5 percent of that for their Cup win in 2015.
Women in sports have witnessed discrimination from their own organizations and this is not fair. This biased treatment has been happening since women fought to be athletes and to be taken seriously but as these situations keep occurring, women have to keep fighting for the respect they deserve.
As time goes by we can say times are changing but actions speak louder than words. Williams was discriminated because she is a woman and it is clear women are disadvantaged in any field.
“I am going to continue to fight for women and to fight for us… this is outrageous,” said Williams during a conference meeting.
Sports organizations should treat men and women athletes fairly and stop the double standard. Williams can continue to fight for women’s equality like King did in the 70’s but women will continue to be penalized until organizations fix their sexist stance in sports.