By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Serena Williams’s match-losing, side judge-threatening outburst yesterday evening against Kim Clijsters, so there’s really no need to cover the basic incident in detail here (if you are just climbing out of your hole and wish to learn more about the outside world, click here, here, here, here, here, or here).
And yeah, the incident was surprising, kind of disappointing, and, if you’re a cynical jerk like me, a little humorous. But Serena was gonna lose anyway and this really didn’t affect the match much. The real interesting thing here is the ongoing reaction to it, and the effect it might have on her career going forward.
Already, the nation’s old, white sports columnists have begun to pounce on Serena’s outburst. The LA TIMES’ Bill Dwyre reacted as if Serena had punched his mother in the face, calling for suspensions, fines and inexplicably comparing her to LeGarrette Blount. FOX SPORTS’ Zachary Pierce was just so offended and wondered if Tiger Woods would ever react so strongly - with the implication, of course, being that he would not. That is possibly the most ludicrous projection ever - OF COURSE Tiger would react strongly. He’s got one of the foulest mouths in sports, and the world is rife with stories about Tiger going off on people. Silly. Of course, Jason Whitlock, Skip Bayless, and Jay Mariotti haven’t even gotten out of bed yet today, so you can be assured that more manufactured outrage is on the way.
About the only reasonable reaction (other than this one, of course) was from the NY DAILY NEWS’ Filip Bondy, who just called the outburst “sad“. That’s about right. It was immature and disappointing, but hardly unique in the history of sports. Michael Jordan, Nick Saban, and countless other coaches and athletes have said far worse to referees and opponents. That doesn’t make it right. But it also doesn’t make it rare. And if it didn’t affect their careers, why on earth would it affect Serena’s? She’ll pay a fine, release a statement, and the world - and the world of tennis - will go on just fine.