Why Serena Williams’ Outburst Was Unnecessary


Courtesy of AP Images

William’s argument with the referee and subsequent loss raised debate recently over sexism in sports.

Sam Lance, Co-editor-and-chief

Disputes with officiating have always been a common occurrence in sports, and Serena William’s outburst during the 2018 US Open was no exception.

During the finals on Sept. 9, chair umpire Carlos Ramos docked Williams a point after seeing her coach motion a hand signal. Williams was not enthused.

“I didn’t get coaching,” Williams said to Ramos. “I don’t cheat. I didn’t get coaching. How can you say that? You owe me an apology. I have never cheated in my life.”

Williams jawed at Ramos once again during the break and said that he was a “thief” for taking away the point. Ramos responded by giving Williams a verbal abuse violation, which granted William’s competitor Naomi Osaka the game.

In the aftermath of the match, Williams was fined $17,000 for her violations, and she then accused Ramos of sexism.

“I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things. I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff,” Williams said. “For me to say ‘thief,’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief.’”

However, Williams declaring sexism is amiss. Since 1998 male tennis players have received 46 more verbal abuse violations than women, according to the New York Times. Male tennis players have also received almost three times the amount of violations overall than women.

In that championship game, Ramos was just doing his job.

The Grand Slam Rulebook says “communications of any kind, audible or visible, between a player and a coach may be construed as coaching.”

And this is exactly what happened. Williams had no reason to have an outburst. Even if she didn’t cheat, that isn’t how you should react to a call you don’t like. You move on. You play the next point.

Williams let her frustration build and it resulted in her getting two more violations. That’s not the referees fault, it’s hers.