Large amounts of tennis umpire heavily considering forming a union to fight back against the lack of public defense from their lead organizations.
By Devin Smith, Staff Writer
Tennis umpires have begun considering launching a union following the backlash received by fellow umpire Carlos Ramos due to his rulings on Serena Williams during the U.S Open.
The thought of this union from other umpires originated from the lack of defense for Ramos from the International Tennis Federation. The federation took nearly two days to come out with a statement that defended Ramos. They stated that all of Ramos’ decisions ” were in accordance with the relevant rules.” The slow response and lukewarm support caused the umpires to feel betrayed and helpless when it comes to preserving their neutral image in the eyes of the head supporting companies. The fear of not being able to make controversial calls because of the potential risk of being accused of something outside of the sport itself has these umpires looking for quick alternatives.
In the span of the two days it took a major sponsoring source to defend Ramos, other companies such as the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and United States Tennis Association (USTA) openly sided with Williams and her claims of sexism and untruthfulness. Due to the lack of support for Ramos and his ruling, along with the ongoing flow of stories that stood by Williams, Ramos was publicly ripped publicly.
An anonymous umpire has since told The Guardian “there is a lot of unhappiness in the umpiring community because no one is standing up for officials.”
After this, multiple other anonymous professional umpires have also since said Ramos was just doing his job and doing it correctly but still has to face the accusations from the public which have potential to ruin his reputation as well as his career. Ramos later told Portugal’s Tribuna Expresso that this whole incident and backlash from it made for “an unhappy situation.”
The main purpose in the mind of the umpires is that this mutual union between a large amount of these umpires could cause a change within the community in their perspective when it comes to the respect they receive and deserve. The idea is that they would not stand for any serious or sensitive public criticism from major sources just because of a controversial ruling. If major organizations that speak for these professional umpires do not do anything soon to show the support and respect for them, they will out of their own free will.