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ITF Decision Overkill: Serena Now The Gold Standard For Bad Behavior?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams ITF Decision OverkillLet the truth be spoken up front; American sisters Venus and Serena Williams have conducted themselves over the lifespan of their tennis careers in an exemplary manner and there are others who could learn a lot from them. That said, sure, Serena has always been the highly emotional fiery player that causes the fans to raise the roof in the stadiums - all within the confines of the sport and nothing contrary to it.

Serena Williams' choice to lash out at the linesperson in the manner that she did at the 2009 U.S. Open was without question an aberration in the behavior that she typically displays during matches. Poor judgement in the heat of the match? Unquestionably. A continuance of longstanding bad behavior? Absolutely not!

On its own merit, the decision of the International Tennis Federation to fine American Serena Williams a record $82,500 for the incident is certainly not as extreme as it could have been and let's face it, the payout won't even make a slight dent in her stash.

The funky portion of this decision comes with the probation and and the potential for Serena to be suspended if she has another "major offense" at any Grand Slam in the next two years. WHAT A LOAD OF BULL!!

Holding Serena to a standard FAR different than other players, male or female, is just beyond the pale. If the ITF wants to set a new standard and then hold all players feet to the fire, fine; but to take an isolated incident and now set Serena up as the gold standard in bad behavior and place punitive sanctions on her that establish new lows in parity is absolutely ridiculous.

Serena has been placed on a probation over the four major championships that occur in 2010-1011. If she has another "major offense" at a Grand Slam tournament in that time, the $82,500 fine would increase to $175,000 and she would be barred from the following U.S. Open.

"But if she does not have another offense in the next two years, the suspension is lifted," says Grand Slam administrator Bill Babcock. Oh how sweet.

He stated that "Williams violated the "major offense" rule for "aggravated behavior." The Grand Slam committee - with one representative from each of the sport's four major championships - approved his decision Saturday.

Babcock said a "major offense" under Grand Slam rules is "any conduct that is determined to be the 'major offense' of 'aggravated behavior' or 'conduct detrimental to the game.'" There is no specific definition of what sort of actions constitute a "major offense."

He said the highest possible fine that Williams could face - $175,000, if she violates her Grand Slam probation - was chosen because it is the difference in winnings between reaching the quarterfinals and semifinals at the U.S. Open. The $10,000 Williams already was docked by the USTA will be counted toward that total; that's why she is paying half of $165,000 now.

Call it what you will, view it in your own light and subject this decision to your own scrutiny - there's one thing that's for certain, this decision would take on a totally different color if this were a white male player. The history of the game bares all of the truth of that statement.

What's good for one should be good for all - this sucks...


Posted by Shelia

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