Sexist comments about female tennis players sparks player pushback

No doubt, plenty of men in the country will wonder “what’s the big deal?” in the aftermath of the comments of the CEO of a tennis tournament in California over the weekend. Here’s a hint, fellas. That’s the big deal.

Check your calendar before continuing.

“I think the WTA [Women’s Tennis Association] … You know, in my next life, when I come back, I want to be someone in the WTA because they ride on the coattails of the men,” Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore said. “They don’t make any decisions, and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky. If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born because they have carried this sport. They really have.”

“There’s only one way to interpret that. ‘Get on your knees,’ which is offensive enough,” Serena Williams said.

“That is such a disservice to … every female, not only a female athlete, but every woman on this planet that has ever tried to stand up in what they believe in,” she added.

“So I just feel like in order to make a comment you have to have history and you have to have facts and you have to know things. You have to know everything. I mean, you look at someone like Billie Jean King who opened so many doors for not only women’s players but women athletes in general. So I feel like that is such a disservice to her and every female, not only a female athlete but every woman on this planet that has ever tried to stand up for what they believed in and being proud to be a woman.”

It’s not as if Billie Jean King has seen this before.

Moore later apologized for his comments. He did so with a written statement.

“At my morning breakfast with the media, I made comments about the WTA that were in extremely poor taste and erroneous,” he said. “I am truly sorry for those remarks and apologize to all the players and WTA as a whole. We had a women’s final today that reflects the strength of the players, especially Serena and Victoria, and the entire WTA. Again, I am truly sorry for my remarks.”

Victoria Azarenka, who defeated Williams in the tournament final, said Moore’s comments are the sort of thing women have to deal with in sports and business.

“What women do best is rise above those comments. You don’t hear complaints or bad comments towards men,” she said. “If we rise above that and keep working hard in everything we do, we’re better. We’re better at taking opportunities and being graceful. It’s our duty to keep just working hard through whatever comments there is.”

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