I understand that an elite athlete looks to gain any advantage they can by getting very hyped up during a game. They talk trash to an opponent or yell at themselves after an unforced error. They scream with enthusiasm after a massive dunk or spectacular touchdown catch. We often celebrate with them.
After the game is over, during a break or even during the game the athlete has to manage his edginess. If he doesn’t he could get penalized for dirty play, excessive celebration, profanity towards the crowd, or smashing his racquet to bits. Muhammed Ali never stopped his antics. Outside the ring, he was as insulting as Donald Trump. It was good for ratings just like it is for Trump but is that really how we like our athletes (or politicians)? Do you like Richard Sherman’s arrogance, Nick Kyrgios’ profanity, Dez Bryant’s self-promotion, or DeMarcus Cousins court antics?
If an athlete is at the top of their sport we expect even more. LeBron James doesn’t act like a petulant child off the court. He doesn’t spend his time anonymously tweeting insults to other players or twitter trolls. He feels some responsibility for the reputation of his sport, as does Roger Federer, Tom Brady, and Sydney Crosby.
Which brings us to Serena Williams. In a US Open final, I expect a lot, decorum wise, from the greatest female player of all time. I expect her to be the example, not the 20-year-old she’s playing against. I don’t care about whataboutisms like “men do it”. Did you see Raphael Nadal or Roger Federer ever act like that in a major tournament? Is John McEnroe who you really want to be compared to? No excuses. Step away from stupid discrimination claims and umpire unfairness.
Act like your sister.