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View Full Version : Another Williams/Race article...


Philbo
Feb 19th, 2002, 12:18 AM
http://www.tennis.com/display.cfm?articleID=3281



Navratilova's comments are interesting...

Greenout
Feb 19th, 2002, 12:49 AM
What a dumb article.

Sure there's racism in world,
but with Venus and Serena winning
every tournament they usually
enter I thought the issue was kind
of mute in the tennis world.

I thought the race issue is Nil since
they've proven all the stats and
doomsayers wrong. Venus and Serena
are here to stay; if you like them or not;
race or not. Venus and Serena are not
the minority anymore- their the dynasty.
Top notch tennis names in tennis history.

Alot of times you can tell more about
the writer or author of a story than
the actual subject. In this case; it seems
to me that it's the writer who still has
problems with the concept of Venus and
Serena being Black and world's greatest
tennis players.

If the other players are upset; it's just
more of that typical tour curse: ENVY.

The article is total garbage and just seems
to want to make something out of nothing.
Bringing up USO 2001 and Leyton Hewitt.
that's old news.

Rocketta
Feb 19th, 2002, 12:56 AM
That was a wonderfully fair article! He did a good job of pointing out how there could be misunderstandings over the issue of race.

moon
Feb 19th, 2002, 12:57 AM
6 months ago is old news? lol

Racism is alive in tennis as well as other places in the world. And I hate to break it to you Greenout, but Venus and Serena winning tournaments does not make it go away.

The article was great, and very accurate.

apoet29
Feb 19th, 2002, 12:57 AM
it always is for some people. The fact remains that Williams sisters have made a great impact on the tour and are here to stay. If they are disliked on the tour, some of it may be racism, but I would venture that most of it would be envy.

The media really needs to let go of the race issue with the sisters. Venus and Serena rarely bring it up and the more the media makes an issue of it, the more difficult it will be for the sisters. :fiery:

Rocketta
Feb 19th, 2002, 01:10 AM
Originally posted by apoet29

The media really needs to let go of the race issue with the sisters. Venus and Serena rarely bring it up and the more the media makes an issue of it, the more difficult it will be for the sisters. :fiery:

I seriously doubt the media pointing out hypocrisies on the tour will make it worse for Venus and Serena. Isn't that part of the job of journalist to point out the failings of the tour? How is it suppose to get better?

Venus and Serena do their talking on the court with their play and off the court with their actions. There is a reason they don't talk to everyone on the tour and its not because they are stuck up!

Greenout
Feb 19th, 2002, 01:12 AM
Your right. There's racsim;but there's
also hope.

Look at that World Cup 1998 French
team. It's changed alot of perceptions
of Algerians and African immigrants to
something much more positive. The
World Cup team showed the French
that a non-white face isn't something to
be feared nor doubted. It's a small step,
but opened up the doors and imaginations
of a new breed of identity regardless
of race.

You have to be positive. I know for a fact
here in Asia that Venus and Serena hold alot
of respect due to their immense talents.
If you want to talk about stereotypes toward
African Americans then you hit the jackpot over
here. (I'm an American expat here by the way.)

It's a small start; but I think a good start.

Ted of Teds Tennis
Feb 19th, 2002, 03:02 AM
Rocketta:

One thing about the media is that *they're* often the ones who are hypocrites. I've found sportswriters to be some of the most bigoted people out there, and want to make race out to be an issue when it isn't.

Could you imaginge what the reaction would be if, say, Melanie Molitor called one of the Williams Sisters a "big black turkey"?

As a fan of American Football, I remember how certain members of the media (notably writers for the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel) reacted rather viciously when the Green Bay Packers fired head coach Ray Rhodes after the 1999 season. When the Packers started off 0-2 the next season, these writers made a big deal about how it was the won-loss record that counted. But when the Packers finished the season with a better record than in 1999, did the JS writers admit to being wrong? No. Instead, they started getting irritated about how Marvin Lewis didn't get a head coaching job anywhere, and that was clearly due to racism. Indeed, I still don't think they've admitted to being wrong about the firing of Rhodes.

(Sorry for the OT rant.)

Vecsey is right that Venus and Serena have acted with much more grace than in the past, but he couldn't bring himself to criticise Richard Williams.

--Ted

Rocketta
Feb 19th, 2002, 06:47 PM
Originally posted by Ted of Teds Tennis
Rocketta:

One thing about the media is that *they're* often the ones who are hypocrites. I've found sportswriters to be some of the most bigoted people out there, and want to make race out to be an issue when it isn't.

So that means they are not suppose to talk about hiprocrisies because some of their co-workers are ones as well??


Could you imaginge what the reaction would be if, say, Melanie Molitor called one of the Williams Sisters a "big black turkey"?

I'm sure the reaction would be great! If your point is that two sentences should evoke the same emotion or reaction you are wrong. History will tell you why! Words are powerful but even more powerful coming from someone who holds a history of opressing your people. Like it or not that is a fact!

As a fan of American Football, I remember how certain members of the media (notably writers for the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel) reacted rather viciously when the Green Bay Packers fired head coach Ray Rhodes after the 1999 season. When the Packers started off 0-2 the next season, these writers made a big deal about how it was the won-loss record that counted. But when the Packers finished the season with a better record than in 1999, did the JS writers admit to being wrong? No. Instead, they started getting irritated about how Marvin Lewis didn't get a head coaching job anywhere, and that was clearly due to racism. Indeed, I still don't think they've admitted to being wrong about the firing of Rhodes.

(Sorry for the OT rant.)

I wont go near this because I don't know the facts! I will ask, "Was that the first losing season for Ray Rhodes?"

Vecsey is right that Venus and Serena have acted with much more grace than in the past, but he couldn't bring himself to criticise Richard Williams.

--Ted

When have they not acted with grace?? Why would he critisize RW? He didn't critize anyone? He gave an accurate account of how things are in general. I'll have to go back and look but I don't think he talked about any one individual being racist?

Beige
Feb 19th, 2002, 07:14 PM
A really good read. Thanks. I liked this quote:

Because I come from his generation (albeit I'm white), I understand him. He's a prickly witness to a lot of nasty history. He's going to goad us about race, and that's not so bad.

That's exactly how I see Richard. Sure he's over the top at times but you have to really take into consideration what he's been through and as a person of color myself (who used to be too meek about discussing race relations especially anything related to injustice) I'm happy Richard is keeping people "honest" even if he does ruffle many a feather. This writer evidentally understands the purpose of Richard's "goading". :)

Bright Red
Feb 19th, 2002, 08:19 PM
Nice article.

I like Venus
I like Serena
I like Oracene, and
I like Richard.

Ryan
Feb 19th, 2002, 08:36 PM
Oh god. This is getting so old. Richard Willaims is an ass and cant mind his own business.

Brian Stewart
Feb 20th, 2002, 04:37 PM
I agree with the general premise that the presence (and success) of the Williams sisters, and the discussions about race that generates, are a good thing. Unfortunately, the ones most in need of examining the issue are the least willing to discuss it.

The tennis media in particular is in great need of self-scrutiny. On examining issues of race and players of color, they have dropped the ball. But not by accident.

Arthur Ashe had a quote about how blacks were acceptable in tennis in small, token amounts, but toxic at higher numbers. We've seen this borne out in the "Williams era". When Venus was still this raw player capable of the occasional upset, but no serious threat to the top, and Serena was largely a rumor, things were fine. The Williamses were a "nice" story. Family comes from a poor background, father uses self-taught tennis knowledge to train daughters into decent players who could make a living on the pro circuit, perhaps bag a title or two. But, of course, they were never going to get anywhere until he handed over the reins to a "real" coach.

Then, an odd thing happened. The sisters learned how to play better. They started climbing the rankings. Soon, they became serious threats to the top. That's when the press turned on them. Richard was no longer "eccentric", but now a lunatic. And they (media) also fabricated this whole "match fixing" scheme at the Lipton final a few years ago, which reached a crescendo last year at Indian Wells. Anyone who looked at the situation objectively could drive a truck through the holes in their scenario. Virtually all of the tennis media participated in this witch hunt, to their great discredit. Then, when that eventually turned on them, they did what they always do: try to pass it on to the women's tour.

Instead of wasting their time creating negativities to hurl at the Williams family (who have been repeatedly condemned for things other players/coaches/families have done with little or no comment), the tennis edia should be examining the real issues in tennis. Why is it that every great (or even good) black player has been developed outside of his/her national federation? (For that matter, the USTA has not been largely responsible for producing top players of any color, including caucasians.) Why is it that in the last 20 years alone we've seen Allen, Blount, Benjamin, Garrison, McNeil, Adams, Rubin, Williams, Williams, Stevenson, (and numerous lower ranked players) come up from the outside of "the system", yet none from within? For that matter, we've also seen Austin, Jaeger, Capriati, Davenport, etc., come up largely outside the system. That suggests that the USTA's only ability is in the acquisition of young talent, once it's been nurtured elsewhere, and not in the actual development of it.

Why did the tennis media let the Blake issue die so quickly? They commended Blake for "taking the high road" (translation: not making an issue of it and forcing them to examine it closer), and let it drop. Could it be they didn't want to dredge up their own past coverage of Blake, when they wrote him off early in his career. (They've never heard of "late bloomers"?) Other players were given more time to develop before an assessent was made of their long-term potential. Yet many who now praise Blake as part of the future of American tennis gave him no chance a short while ago.

I can see two underlying principles in the way they've dealt with Blake. One: the tennis media has historically underrated the ability of black players, and continues to do so. Two: it ties into the tennis media's other great prejudice- they are pro-men, and anti-women. They don't want to anything to hurt the men's tour. That's why Goran's comments were presented as a mere footnote at best, and Agassi's suggestion that a female line judge needed to "be taken care of" (sexually) by her husband, was passed over. If they made hay of these, the other past comments (including Agassi's "submarine" remark, Krajicek's "fat pigs", and numerous others) would have to be brought up, suggesting a pattern on the men's tour. None of these have been fined by the ATP for their remarks, suggesting approval.

It's why the tennis media hasn't pressed Sampras, whom they've built up as "Mr. Class", on the Venus issue. If you remember, after Venus withdrew from Indian Wells last year citing a flareup of her knee tendinitis, Pete made a remark in his press conference about how "it just flared up" and rolled his eyes in disbelief (to the amusement of the assembled tennis media), then threw in a sarcastic "tendinitis". Boiling it down, we have "Mr. Class" calling Venus a liar. At the time, we learned from a fellow poster with the same condition as Venus that it does flare up suddenly, and can alleviate within 24-48 hours. This was given further credence at this year's Australian Open, when Venus had another flareup. She played through it this time, explaining that she only did so because she wasn't facing a top player, whom she would have had no chance against. She knew if she could somehow win the match, there was a chance the knee would be better in time for her next one. However, had she been scheduled to face a seed, playing would not have been as sensible an option because the risk/reward was to heavily slanted toward risk. Some risk of greater injury, no chance of reward (winning).

So why hasn't the tennis media pressed Pete on this, perhaps offering him a chance to make a retraction/apology? Could it be because he also had commented that Venus doesn't even know where her serve is going, thereby also calling her stupid? In other words, they don't want to expose another pattern. And if they dig into the issue, who knows what else they might uncover on the ATP tour? Is it mere coincidence that all of the ATP's full-time employees (about 90) are white? They had one who wasn't, but he was let go in the recent cutbacks.

There is a lot of information that the tennis media could, and should, be providing to us. On a variety of issues, not the least of which is race. Why aren't they doing so? Are they afraid of what will come out? We need a serious examination of the issues in the tennis media, and of the media itself. That's the only path to growth. We've discussed the issue of race on numerous occasions. We've debated, argued, and exchanged information as well as viewpoints. We've talked about it. And those of us that were willing to do so have learned along the way. It's high time the tennis community did so too.

Perhaps we should just take over. :)

TSequoia01
Feb 20th, 2002, 05:01 PM
Great post Brian...really thought provoking. :cool:

Beige
Feb 20th, 2002, 05:02 PM
So, Brian Stewart....how do you really feel?

PREACH ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

victory1
Feb 20th, 2002, 05:08 PM
Very inciteful post Brian, your always manage to impress me ;)

moon
Feb 20th, 2002, 11:05 PM
great post Brian:)

Right on!

gentenaire
Feb 21st, 2002, 01:31 PM
Does anyone else think that's a strange pic of Venus? If it weren't for the clothes, I don't think I would have recognised her.

Interesting article.