NAIROBI, Kenya, September 16 – Serena Williams’ tirade at a line judge during the US Open dominated sports news over the weekend.
Critics and experts have lined up accusing her of not being gracious-of crossing the line, not being a good role model by not setting a good example for young tennis players.
A quick search on the words Serena Williams’s outburst gets you 3,190,000 results in 0.21 seconds!
Across the Atlantic, Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor was heavily criticized for pointedly celebrating a goal infront of Arsenal fans (his former club) and now faces a four match ban.
But was Serena’s outburst or Adebayor’s premeditated really demand the kind of scrutiny and attention they have received?
Did they really do something that atrocious?
Because of the vast amounts of money in modern sport, sportsmen and women have been set astronomically high moral standards.
There is so much pressure on them to not only perform on the pitch but also off it and their every move is put under the microscope.
Did he smile there? Did she stand upright? Did he say hi politely? Etc…
One thing that the public needs to remember is that deep down they are human beings. They have feelings; can get angry, excited, annoyed, flustered and positively elated. Therefore there must be an allowance for them to feel and express these emotions.
Fans must also cut them some slack. I mean, Arsenal fans spent most of summer trash talking Adebayor. They went even went as far as making a mock brochure advertising for his services. Infact most Arsenal fans were keen to see him leave.
True, he is not then most likeable footballer around but shouldn’t he be allowed to get his own back at them by celebrating a goal against them? He did not hit anyone; he just slid on his knees and showed them what they are missing.
When Eric Cantona kicked the living daylights out of a Crystal palace fan, he was rightfully punished because he crossed the line. But to celebrate ha now become a crime.
Just what more will be outlawed in football. You can’t remove your shirt when you score a goal, you can’t step off the pitch and now you can’t even celebrate! What will football authorities do next? Give out a set of guidelines on how you celebrate?
And do fans get punished for the vitriol they poured on the Togolese marksman throughout off season and on Saturday? What price do they pay for all those puns on web chats and blog pages?
Likewise, what happened to the line judge who called the foot fault-which was a wrong call by the way? Does she get sanctioned like Serena did?
And is it that black sportsmen and women are under even more scrutiny? Just days after Serena’s outburst, Tennis’ greatest ever player Roger Federer was clearly heard shouting expletives at the match referee.
But that dies almost as soon as play resumed and he was not even reprimanded! Serena meanwhile has literally been haunted to apologize publicly on top of a $10,500 fine.
Could this have to do with the stereotyping that the black man needs to get more cultured?
At least the fans in New York backed Serena when an on court interviewer tried to bring it up again after their doubles win in the final. Even they were tired with the nitpicking.