Objective Reality: Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams

(It’s worth revisiting this article I wrote a few months ago: Naomi Osaka just won the Australian Open and is being lauded worldwide for her history-making win and her general humility and appeal. Given the toxicity and duplicity that characterizes so much discourse these days, Osaka’s simple, guileless statements to the press put us all to shame).

It is interesting to see how Japan has embraced Haitian-Japanese Naomi Osaka, 2018 U.S. Open Grand Slam winner, as their own.

Osaka just arrived in Japan and was now interviewed on TV in a press conference. She seems to understand Japanese quite well (she only misunderstood one question by reporters) but can’t speak much. She is quite charming. It’s pleasing to see a mixed-heritage person presented so positively in the Japanese media. It gives me hope for my own child’s future.

On a different but related topic, the Osaka-Serena Williams match has occasioned considerable controversy around the world. Racists have exploited Williams in the predicably ignorant, coarse, degrading, and appalling ways that align well with their own ignorant, coarse, degraded, appalling characters. And the fact that Serena Williams was disproportionately targeted and punished by comparison to male players who have broken rules and tantrumed* ought to be reflected upon with an eye toward applying rules equally to both women and men from here on out.

That said, an objective reality, separatable from the heat and fury, exists. While tennis refereeing is far afield of my area of expertise (as is everything else!), it seems worth mentioning that the three violations Serena Williams was said to have committed seem to have in fact been actually committed. To wit, her coach did in fact, by his own admission, signal directions to her, she did in fact break her tennis racket and did further call the referee a thief. I understand a double standard or inconsistency has existed between the penalties administered to male versus female players when tantruming* or cheating, but this appears to me (in my pathetically limited view) to be a reason for enforcing the rules against men as well as women rather than not enforcing them against women too. I’m probably missing something.

Apologies for offering my opinions when you didn’t even ask for them!

*I’m aware that “tantrum” is not normally used as a verb, but I have used it thusly for most of my life, and so will stick with this habit. It works rather attractively as a verb, doesn’t it?

9 thoughts on “Objective Reality: Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams

  1. It make me nervous to criticize Williams, I worry about the reign of hatred that will befall me, but… I find it ironic that she complained that the referee was smearing her character, and then she went ahead and demolished her character by showing such poor sportsmanship. Frankly, I expect more from her. I won’t argue that the way she’s been called out isn’t “fair” in comparison to some equally high-profile men, but I never had much patience for their behavior either.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A tennis fan explained things to me thus: The penalty assessed by the judge was out of his control (it’s set by the organization). However, the decision to assess a penalty at all was the judge’s decision, and historically judges have given make players a pass or three after strike two. Which this judge did not, in regards to Williams.

    Regarding her behavior, it really wasn’t that different from, and was *much* tamer than, the behavior of many male “heroes” of the game, ex. McEnroe (sp?).

    Liked by 2 people

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