The controversy surrounding the US Open final rumbles on.
Everyone is still talking about Saturday’s US Open final, which saw Serena Williams being hit with three code violations, losing the game as a result, and calling the umpire a ‘liar’ and a ‘thief’.
You are not being fair…. this is not fair….I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose. You owe me an apology. You need to announce that I did not cheat. I have a daughter and I stand up for her.
This started a huge debate about double standards in sport – do men who ‘behave badly’ face fewer repercussions? Why was Serena called ‘hysterical’, when a male player would be called ‘passionate’?
After the incident, Australian newspaper The Herald Sun printed a cartoon that has been widely labelled as ‘racist’ – it shows Serena jumping up and down on a broken tennis racket, with exaggerated features that were read by many as a reference to Jim Crow-era caricatures.
Meanwhile, her opponent Naomi Osaka (who is of Haitian and Japanese descent) is depicted as a skinny blonde white woman, all the better to emphasise the ‘angry black woman’ stereotype.
The National Association of Black Journalists in the US said the cartoon was “repugnant on many levels”:
It not only exudes racist, sexist caricatures of both women, but Williams’ depiction is unnecessarily sambo-like… this cartoon grossly inaccurately depicts two women of colour at the US Open, one of the grandest stages of professional sports.
Celebrities have rushed to Serena’s defence since the picture was published – JK Rowling, Kathy Griffin and Nicki Minaj are among the people who have called out the cartoonist, Mark Knight:
Well done on reducing one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes and turning a second great sportswoman into a faceless prop. https://t.co/YOxVMuTXEC
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 10, 2018
Hey @Knightcartoons just change your name to KKK Cartoons
Racist piece of shit! https://t.co/ODfeEe6D0g
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) September 10, 2018
“Every time you see a black woman not agree with something going on, they’re labelled as angry or having a meltdown,” said Nicki on her Apple radio show last night.
Black women are not allowed to say they’re being mistreated without being told they’re on drugs, having a meltdown, they’re a sore loser, bitter, miserable… give me a f**king break. I’m not getting on him in terms of saying he’s not allowed to express himself. But you went out of your way to make her look physically bad.
The cartoonist initially defended the cartoon himself, pointing to a similar drawing he did of Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios, who is of Greek and Malaysian descent. This Twitter user put that to bed pretty quickly:
"Well Julie I've been racist before so it's ok."
— (H)erc (@iHerc) September 10, 2018
Now the chairman of News Corp Australasia, which owns the Herald Sun, has said that “the world has gone too PC” and poor behaviour in sport needs to be called out.
Serena herself has been pretty quiet since the final earlier this week, bar this photo of her relaxing with her daughter Olympia.
Serena will have to pay a fine of $17,000 for her remarks, but according to the US Tennis Association, the incident has prompted them to reflect on how clear the rules are for umpires:
These incidents will prompt us to analyse ways of perhaps instituting some change. We certainly do not want any inconsistencies.