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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 09:04 PM   #1
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Indian Wells Tainted? Charlie Pasarell - Only himself to Blame?

Don't KILL the messenger (me)
Williams Sisters' Boycott Taints Indian Wells Tennis Tournament
Twelve-Year Boycott Leaves Dark Cloud Over Tournament and Former Director

By Merlisa Lawrence Corbett



By Merlisa Lawrence Corbett | Yahoo! Contributor Network – Thu, Mar 7, 2013 12:55 PM EST

Related Content

  • View Photo Serena Williams. Photo credit: Ann Kaguyutan.




COMMENTARY | Twelve years later and Indian Wells remains tainted by a racist incident aimed at Venus and Serena Williams.
On Monday, March 4, the International Tennis Hall of Fame announced its latest inductees. Among them was Charlie Pasarell, the architect of the Indian Wells tournament, now known as the BNP Paribas Open.
Although a top player at UCLA, Pasarell's most notable achievement was building Indian Wells into the "Fifth Grand Slam." Monday evening his contributions to the game were acknowledged at the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden. The exhibition featured No. 1-ranked Serena Williams against No. 2 Victoria Azarenka.
How ironic that Pasarell would share the stage with Williams, whose boycott of his beloved Indian Wells event continues to be as big a story as the tournament itself.
Influential and instrumental in building one of the most prestigious events in tennis, Pasarell could have avoided this stain on his otherwise pristine reputation had he handled the incident better. But instead of rebuking a wrong, Pasarell chose to minimize overt racism.
So once again, as the top players in the world take to the court this week, Indian Wells is deprived of the best female player in the game and arguably the greatest of all time.
It was 2001 when the Williams sisters were scheduled to meet in the semifinals. Hours before the match Venus withdrew due to tendonitis. Of course, fans were disappointed. Who wouldn't be?
But the next day when Serena faced Kim Clijsters in the final, the crowd displayed disdain, not mere disappointment. More than half of those attending booed Serena as she took the court. The boos grew louder when Venus and her father, Richard Williams, entered the stadium to take their seats.
Richard Williams said some people yelled racial slurs. When asked about the accusations, Venus said, "I heard what he heard."
One explanation for the bad behavior was that fans thought Richard Williams fixed matches between the two sisters and that Venus withdrew because he didn't want them to play each other. Even if fans believed this unsubstantiated rumor, nothing explains the vitriol aimed at Serena.
The crowd behaved deplorably, boisterously cheering Serena's double-faults and unforced errors. When she won, boos drowned out applause. Serena said she was crying inside the entire match.
Remember, we are talking tennis, a sport steeped in etiquette and protocol; a sport where even coughing during play can draw rolled eyes. Even commentator Mary Joe Fernandez said she had never witnessed anything like it. A "tense" situation was how Fernandez characterized it.
After the tournament, Pasarell said Serena had been treated unfairly. But he stopped short of calling the crowd's reaction racist.
Opting for the role of country-club board member, instead of tournament director, Pasarell sought to defuse Richard Williams' accusations. "If Richard says someone yelled something, maybe they did, but I know that's not Indian Wells people," Pasarell said.
What he needed to do was make an immediate public apology. Had he done so, perhaps the Williams sisters would have returned. After all, the tournament is played in the state they grew up in. Serena won her first title there.
A few years later, when the Williams sisters were dominating tennis and still avoiding his tournament, Pasarell and Indian Wells officials claimed to have made repeated attempts to "make it right."
What he failed to understand is that when a 19-year-old woman is publicly reduced to tears, booed insistently, and her family is the target of racial slurs, nothing short of an immediate public apology will ever suffice.
Indian Wells has survived and thrives as a major event. But, rightfully so, Pasarell will forever have the hallmark of his career associated with one of the ugliest moments in tennis history.
He has only himself to blame.
A former reporter for Sports Illustrated, Merlisa competes in United States Tennis Association league play. She wrote the foreword for Arthur Ashe, Jr.'s "A Hard Road to Glory: Track & Field".
Follow her on Twitter @merlisa.
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 09:17 PM   #2
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Re: Indian Wells Tainted? Charlie Pasarell - Only himself to Blame?

Well, Ellison is trying to rebuild it. He may well succeed, with all his money.
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 09:28 PM   #3
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Re: Indian Wells Tainted? Charlie Pasarell - Only himself to Blame?

I really don't think it's Pasarell's fault. This incident or whatever it was is not the first thing I think of when I think of him.
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 09:52 PM   #4
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Re: Indian Wells Tainted? Charlie Pasarell - Only himself to Blame?

That article is a load of It was not the tournament directors fault, he was in a lose-lose situation and he did what he thought was best.

And besides you would think after 12 years the Williams sisters would mature enough to put aside this one year and move on... obviously it seems they aren't as you feel they have never gotten over it...
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 09:54 PM   #5
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Re: Indian Wells Tainted? Charlie Pasarell - Only himself to Blame?

Garbage article.

Ongoing TWELVE year long taint? Are you kidding me?

And looking by the photo provided - the writer looks a bit pressed



Last edited by Raiden : Mar 8th, 2013 at 10:03 PM.
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 09:58 PM   #6
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Re: Indian Wells Tainted? Charlie Pasarell - Only himself to Blame?

Well written article.

I'm glad the Williams sisters are still boycotting this tournie all things considered!
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 09:59 PM   #7
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Re: Indian Wells Tainted? Charlie Pasarell - Only himself to Blame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Kaz View Post
That article is a load of It was not the tournament directors fault, he was in a lose-lose situation and he did what he thought was best.

And besides you would think after 12 years the Williams sisters would mature enough to put aside this one year and move on... obviously it seems they aren't as you feel they have never gotten over it...
Excuse me? "Mature enough to put aside...." You must not be a person of color cuz that sounds like some ignorant shit a white person who has never experienced that kind of racism would say. The WS said in the beginning they would never go back and that's what the hell they meant.....PERIOD!!!!! Year after year it's journalists and others who speak of the WS and Indian Wells. They don't even discuss it unless its brought up to them.
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 10:10 PM   #8
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Re: Indian Wells Tainted? Charlie Pasarell - Only himself to Blame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by edificio View Post
Well, Ellison is trying to rebuild it. He may well succeed, with all his money.
Or he might move it somewhere else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooper96 View Post
I really don't think it's Pasarell's fault. This incident or whatever it was is not the first thing I think of when I think of him.

Then you might think of him differently.
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 10:14 PM   #9
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Re: Indian Wells Tainted? Charlie Pasarell - Only himself to Blame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Kaz View Post
That article is a load of It was not the tournament directors fault, he was in a lose-lose situation and he did what he thought was best.

And besides you would think after 12 years the Williams sisters would mature enough to put aside this one year and move on... obviously it seems they aren't as you feel they have never gotten over it...
Spoken like a cracker that has never faced racism in his life.
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 10:17 PM   #10
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Re: Indian Wells Tainted? Charlie Pasarell - Only himself to Blame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiden View Post
Garbage article.

Ongoing TWELVE year long taint? Are you kidding me?

And looking by the photo provided - the writer looks a bit pressed


Are you seeing something I'm not? Just looks like a woman. What makes her look pressed to you?
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 10:23 PM   #11
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Re: Indian Wells Tainted? Charlie Pasarell - Only himself to Blame?

They are right in boycotting.
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 10:25 PM   #12
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Re: Indian Wells Tainted? Charlie Pasarell - Only himself to Blame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilePhile View Post
Or he might move it somewhere else.




Then you might think of him differently.
Isn't that why we're all here though? To express our different opinions? I don't think my post implied that everyone has the same view as me.
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 11:02 PM   #13
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Re: Indian Wells Tainted? Charlie Pasarell - Only himself to Blame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Kaz View Post
That article is a load of It was not the tournament directors fault, he was in a lose-lose situation and he did what he thought was best.

And besides you would think after 12 years the Williams sisters would mature enough to put aside this one year and move on... obviously it seems they aren't as you feel they have never gotten over it...
Actually they have moved on. They aren't the ones who bring it up year after year.
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 11:25 PM   #14
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Re: Indian Wells Tainted? Charlie Pasarell - Only himself to Blame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiden View Post
Garbage article.

Ongoing TWELVE year long taint? Are you kidding me?

And looking by the photo provided - the writer looks a bit pressed


She looks pressed how? Stop being a fucking punk and say what you really mean to say.
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 11:27 PM   #15
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Re: Indian Wells Tainted? Charlie Pasarell - Only himself to Blame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HippityHop View Post
Actually they have moved on. They aren't the ones who bring it up year after year.
Thank you.
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