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Open Letter To The New York Daily News/Staff Writer Filip Bondy

Thursday, July 26, 2012

July 24, 2010 New York Daily News headline.

Dear New York Daily News/Staff Writer Filip Bondy:

Over an hour ago I had the misfortune of reading the headline of an article dated July 24, 2010. That headline reads:
"Serena Williams comes to Olympics with millions in her pockets while Sarah Robles raises $20,000 to fly coach to London. Venus joked that she rarely shops in London, because the pound remains too strong a currency. That’s probably not a joke. She should try on the shoes of Robles, who has different kinds of money problems."
I sat in my "and???..." wonderment for a little while before returning to read the article in its entirety, hoping that the article backed off of the tone of the headline, an all too common ploy used to grab the readers attention, then the body of the story changes its tone, or reads entirely differently - but not here.

While the body does not completely fulfill the insinuation of the headline, it never substantiates that the disparity in the financial wherewithal between the American sisters and their compatriot weightlifter Sarah Robles has anything to do with fault, luck, favoritism or anything of the sort - which is what the headline intimates.

While I believe that it is common knowledge that two little African-American girls growing up in COMPTON, California learning to play the sport of tennis from their father on public tennis courts squarely negates a privileged upbringing, the fact that their talent, perseverance and hard work now affords them better choices in life should definitely be noted when their finances are being used as the base of a comparison against someone who has not yet achieved that level of financial success.

Wittingly or not, the underlying suggestion in the headline that the monetary disparity being discussed here is anything other than the bounty of career success, is a very unnecessary, bewildering, really cheap shot.

Shelia Johnson-Chatmon

P.S. Oh, and Mr. Bondy, I noticed that you were honored by the United States Tennis Writers Association, belated congratulations.

Posted by Shelia

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