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Tim Benz: Self-absorbed Serena Williams an embarrassment in U.S. Open final | TribLIVE.com
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Tim Benz: Self-absorbed Serena Williams an embarrassment in U.S. Open final

Tim Benz
| Monday, September 10, 2018 9:42 a.m.
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Serena Williams argues with chair umpire Carlos Ramos while playing Naomi Osaka of Japan during their 2018 U.S. Open women's singles final match in New York.

By now I’m sure you have seen the video of Serena Williams melting down in the U.S. Open final against Naomi Osaka after she was tagged with a coaching violation.

That spiraled into an equipment abuse violation, which docked a point. Then a game violation for verbal abuse was added.

It took me a while to see the video. I was covering the Pitt-Penn State game and was only able to read about it in articles like this one from the Washington Post, and many other tweets with a similar tone, making Williams into a victim for how things transpired.

The incident was portrayed — in the coverage I saw — as if Serena was being targeted by chair umpire Carlos Ramos only because she was female.

The inference being, male tennis players do worse things and don’t get penalized as heavily.

When I eventually saw the video on the late ESPN SportsCenter, it was as if I was watching a completely different event than what had been described.

You can read the link above from the Post, or some of these descriptions from ESPN, which race-bait and gender-bait in an attempt to pander and preen in the name of “social awareness.”

Or you can realize what really happened.

What really happened was a spoiled, entitled champion thought she was above the rules and snapped when she was called out for breaking them.

Oh, make no doubt, the umpire was being a jerk. The coaching violation was minimal and didn’t need to be issued. It was by no means egregious.

It happened, though. Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou admitted he was doing it.

But to somehow suggest Ramos made the call based on Williams’ gender as she accused on the court — and national journalists latched onto as if those complaints were facts — isn’t accurate.

First of all, I’m not sure how race or gender bias got involved in a match between two female athletes of differing minority descents.

Secondly, why are we acting as if this is the first time a game official has ever overstepped his bounds? Do the names Joey Crawford, Joe West, Dutch Rennert, Ed Hochuli or Ted Valentine ring any bells? At various points in all of their careers, they have been accused by fans or media members for making themselves the focal point of the show far more than their job descriptions require.

It’s been happening in male sports for decades. It happened to Serena on Saturday, and she freaked out.

Yet that’s acceptable.

Why? Not only is it unacceptable, but the national media is also defending her for it.

What a joke. The initial call by the umpire shouldn’t have been the story. The story should have been Williams’ nuclear reaction and how mentally incapable she was of getting over it.

If we want to draw parallels to male sports, as so many of these journalists and Serena tried to do, her reaction to what happened would’ve been like LeBron James getting whistled for a lane violation, then going 0 for 18 from the floor and getting ejected because he was so mad about the call.

Williams’ behavior was far more offensive to me than the call from the chair ump. She just wouldn’t let it go. The argument kept going on and on and on. If she had been a baseball manager, she would’ve kicked dirt, emptied the bat rack and tossed a water cooler.

Tournament officials had to be called out to put the matter to rest. But that didn’t occur before Williams was finished grandstanding with her self-absorbed, finger-wagging rant insisting she shouldn’t be hit with any violations because of her pristine character, her motherhood and her virtue as a player.

It was comical.

Williams was going to lose, and she was just trying to create an excuse. She whipped the fans into such a frenzy that the winner, Osaka, had her championship moment ruined during the trophy presentation by a booing stadium. That gave Williams another chance to magnanimously posture and ask the crowd to stop, even though she was clearly basking in the glow of their disapproval of the officiating.

Of course, in post-match comments, she vented more about how she was wronged and her unwavering need to be a “strong woman.”

Strong? Please. A strong woman would’ve complained about the call momentarily and moved on. In those moments, she was weak. That’s unfortunate. Because an athlete as elite she is can’t attain that type of success without being tougher than that normally.

Of all outlets, even Dictionary.com got in on the Serena pity-train, tweeting:

She showed “class?” Seriously? Maybe in her attempt to stop the booing at the ceremony, which she generated from the fans in the first place.

But the more pressing question for Dictionary.com is, what’s the definition of “brat?” Because if my understanding of the word is right, that’s how Williams acted during the match.

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