Serena Williams's Detractors

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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by eselle28 on Thu Dec 17, 2015 11:45 pm

OtherRoooToo wrote:
I was actually a little surprised with SI for doing that too.

I can’t imagine they didn’t know what they were doing, instigating like that … but Jon Wertheim has always been her champion, for starters.   Not really sure what happened there (although it’s not like Jon is King of SI; he’s only King of Tennis – I can only remember bringing home 4 SI covers since 2008 – these two recent ones with Serena, the one where Roger won RG and got his Career Grand Slam, and the one with him and Rafa on the cover for the Wimbledon 2008 Men’s Singles Final, otherwise known as the Greatest Match of All Time (even one of the participants in the other contender for that title, Borg-McEnroe, says so)).

I agree they had an idea controversy and website clicks would result, but yes, this does seem surprising and sort of cloddish from a PR point of view. I don't really read Sports Illustrated, but I was under the impression both that they were fairly chummy toward athletes rather than taking an investigative posture and that a good bit of their non-swimsuit cover sales were from readers who buy it as you do - when their favorite sport or an athlete they're particularly interested in gets a cover. I don't know why they'd want to alienate a popular athlete or her fan base b creating this situation, especially since they've managed to also irritate fans of horse racing in the process.

Even if the horse was listed (and without even getting into the other ramifications, because I've been reading about it for days and frankly, I don't have the bandwith) in Secretariat's year ... the fact remains that a horse is not a person, and the award is / was for a SportsPERSON. Period.

Yeah, this is one of those cases where I think the wording really matters. I would have no objection to either American Pharoah or Secretariat being listed among great athletes. Sportsperson makes me think of sportsmanship and at least suggests that there may be an element of character and of the public admiring facets of a person that go beyond athletic performance. The magazine has clung to the term despite the awkwardness of its gender neutral version, and it looks like it occasionally names coaches as sportsmen and sportswomen of the year, so I don't think this is really intended to be the exact same thing as a best athlete award. (Potentially counterpoint: in 2002, the sportsman of the year was professional sociopath Lance Armstrong, so maybe character doesn't count!)
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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by JP McBride on Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:17 am

OtherRoooToo wrote:
JP McBride wrote:ESPN listed Secretariat as one of the top 100 athletes of the 20th century, so it's not exactly unprecedented.

That was ESPN.   This is SI.  

Different media empire, different publications.

So? It's demeaning for SI to treat Serena Williams like ESPN treated Michael Jordan and Babe Ruth?

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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by eselle28 on Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:48 am

JP McBride wrote:
OtherRoooToo wrote:
JP McBride wrote:ESPN listed Secretariat as one of the top 100 athletes of the 20th century, so it's not exactly unprecedented.

That was ESPN.   This is SI.  

Different media empire, different publications.

So? It's demeaning for SI to treat Serena Williams like ESPN treated Michael Jordan and Babe Ruth?

Different award, different standards. I'm noticing Coach K and Joe Paterno, both former sportsmen of the year, didn't make the list of the greatest athletes.

Also, handled differently. Sports Illustrated didn't make a ranked list with American Pharoah in first place and Serena Williams in second place. It conducted a poll that included an option that was broadly popular with the public but that seems to have never been under serious consideration for the award, very likely in the hopes of stirring up controversy and presumably (assuming any common sense) knowing that some of it would be racist and sexist in nature.
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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by JP McBride on Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:35 pm

eselle28 wrote:Different award, different standards.

Ok, so was it demeaning for her to be treated like Simone Biles, Usain Bolt, Steph Curry, Thomas Davis, Novak Djokovic, Carli Lloyd, Lionel Messi, Ronda Rousey, the Kansas City Royals, or Jordan Spieth?

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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by eselle28 on Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:46 pm

JP McBride wrote:
eselle28 wrote:Different award, different standards.

Ok, so was it demeaning for her to be treated like Simone Biles, Usain Bolt, Steph Curry, Thomas Davis, Novak Djokovic, Carli Lloyd, Lionel Messi, Ronda Rousey, the Kansas City Royals, or Jordan Spieth?

Sports Illustrated's stunt was demeaning to all of those sportsmen and sportswomen. It was particularly demeaning to the people of color in that group, as there is a long history of comparing people of certain races to animals and treating them as such. It was especially demeaning to Williams, as Sports Illustrated almost certainly knew at that point that she was their choice, would be the one who would be the focus of the backlash they stirred up, that the conversation about her win would likely have a different character than one about the Kansas City Royals being chosen instead of a horse.
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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by Wondering on Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:01 pm

Exactly. Because now people aren't talking about Serena Williams's win. They're talking about whether a horse should have beat her.


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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by JP McBride on Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:13 pm

eselle28 wrote:It was especially demeaning to Williams, as Sports Illustrated almost certainly knew at that point that she was their choice, would be the one who would be the focus of the backlash they stirred up, that the conversation about her win would likely have a different character than one about the Kansas City Royals being chosen instead of a horse.

And it wouldn't have had anything to do with the fact that the Royals got 30 times as many votes as her.

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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by eselle28 on Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:45 pm

JP McBride wrote:
eselle28 wrote:It was especially demeaning to Williams, as Sports Illustrated almost certainly knew at that point that she was their choice, would be the one who would be the focus of the backlash they stirred up, that the conversation about her win would likely have a different character than one about the Kansas City Royals being chosen instead of a horse.

And it wouldn't have had anything to do with the fact that the Royals got 30 times as many votes as her.

And the fact that the Royals got thirty times as many votes wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that they're a team of male athletes, some of whom are white, playing in a popular and exclusively men's sport.

Almost no awards of this type are determined by the accompanying reader poll. In most cases, the audience understands that the fact that Bernie Sanders won the Time Person of the Year Readers' Poll does not guarantee that Bernie Sanders will, in fact, be the person of the year. I'm not terribly interested in extending the debate, as I think both of our minds are made up, but my belief is that some portion of this fervor is because Williams is black, a woman, competes in a sport other than the big four, and doesn't comply with the beauty norms for that sport.
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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by JP McBride on Sat Dec 19, 2015 2:58 am

eselle28 wrote:
JP McBride wrote:
eselle28 wrote:It was especially demeaning to Williams, as Sports Illustrated almost certainly knew at that point that she was their choice, would be the one who would be the focus of the backlash they stirred up, that the conversation about her win would likely have a different character than one about the Kansas City Royals being chosen instead of a horse.

And it wouldn't have had anything to do with the fact that the Royals got 30 times as many votes as her.

And the fact that the Royals got thirty times as many votes wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that they're a team of male athletes, some of whom are white, playing in a popular and exclusively men's sport.

So what's the excuse for the other eight people that got more votes than her?

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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by Wondering on Sat Dec 19, 2015 3:31 pm

The exact same thing eselle already said. That reader polls are a curiosity and irrelevant to what the editorial staff actually picks. How many people voted for Angela Merkel in the Time Person of the Year poll? I'm guessing not many.

It's obvious you don't think Serena should have won. We get it. Can we move on?

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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by JP McBride on Sat Dec 19, 2015 7:50 pm

Wondering wrote:It's obvious you don't think Serena should have won. We get it. Can we move on?

Nah, I think she deserves it. I just don't think including American Pharoah in the contenders is racist.

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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by OtherRoooToo on Sun Dec 20, 2015 1:55 am

JP McBride wrote:
Nah, I think she deserves it. I just don't think including American Pharoah in the contenders is racist.

Then it sounds as though you don't have enough historical background to be able to accurately analyze the problem.

It's not just a question of viewing the horse's inclusion in a vacuum (though you do seem to have moved the goalposts from the last time I commented on this, and you do also seem rather fixedly attached to the subject; it's been my experience talking about things of this nature for literally decades that people that fixed on the point several other people have repeatedly attempted to try to get them to see are usually being deliberately obtuse about the point in question, and IMO your shifting of the goalposts / changing of the central topic supports that little hypothesis).

It's a question -- and this has already been covered, in the reference to the fact that the horse is not a person , and the title (not to be unduly repetitive) is for SportsPERSON -- of not just the horse, but the other contestants to whom the horse is being compared in context, as well as why that matters.

There is enough historical background on comparing men and women of color to an animal, and why that is racist on its face, to fill archives at several of the most prestigious libraries on the continent, so I won't spend my time or energy outlining it for you here ... since if you were really interested in why it's so problematic, you could look it up; it's not as though there were a dearth of sources on the matter.

But it IS racist; there is ample evidence to why, and just because you fail to see it, it doesn't follow from that that that evidence doesn't exist.

This will be my last comment on the topic as, as I intimated previously, you seem far more interested in the sound of your own voice / look of your own type than you are in actually considering the point at issue.

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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by Wondering on Sun Dec 20, 2015 2:22 am

JP McBride wrote:Nah, I think she deserves it. I just don't think including American Pharoah in the contenders is racist.

Did you read the article I linked to in my first post on this particular issue? Are you aware that the LA Times tweeted a photo of Serena Williams next to a photo of American Pharaoh (a direct comparison of a black woman with an animal) and asked its readers to take a poll about who was the best sportsperson of the year (after Serena already won) between just the two of them?

If not, maybe, like Rooo says, you should look a little deeper before you play devil's advocate. If so, your statement that it's not racist indicates a significant lack of empathy.


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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by JP McBride on Sun Dec 20, 2015 3:53 am

OtherRoooToo wrote:
JP McBride wrote:
Nah, I think she deserves it. I just don't think including American Pharoah in the contenders is racist.

Then it sounds as though you don't have enough historical background to be able to accurately analyze the problem.

It's possible to honestly disagree about something, you know.

Wondering wrote:
JP McBride wrote:Nah, I think she deserves it. I just don't think including American Pharoah in the contenders is racist.

Did you read the article I linked to in my first post on this particular issue? Are you aware that the LA Times tweeted a photo of Serena Williams next to a photo of American Pharaoh (a direct comparison of a black woman with an animal) and asked its readers to take a poll about who was the best sportsperson of the year (after Serena already won) between just the two of them?

If not, maybe, like Rooo says, you should look a little deeper before you play devil's advocate. If so, your statement that it's not racist indicates a significant lack of empathy.

The LA Times article was over the line. I've just been defending SI here.

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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by Enail on Sun Dec 20, 2015 12:28 pm

<mod>Alright, folks, the thread is to discuss how reactions to Serena Williams' intersect with sexism and/or racism, so if you don't feel a particular example is racist, once you've established your disagreement and heard why other people disagree with you, that's really all the on-topic conversation that can happen on that subject without becoming repetitive, so it's time to move on. </mod>
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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by Wondering on Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:06 pm

I just noticed that that LA Times tweet actually asks who the "real" sportsperson is, not the "best." As if there's a question whether Serena's win was real. Ugh.

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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by WJMorris3 on Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:09 pm

If her win wasn't real, would you care to explain who that woman was who won the first three majors of the year?

Also: this whole thing could have been clearly avoided if they would have nominated Victor Espinoza instead of American Pharoah. At the very least there, they're nominating a person.

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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by OtherRoooToo on Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:18 am

eselle28 wrote:
JP McBride wrote:
eselle28 wrote:Different award, different standards.

Ok, so was it demeaning for her to be treated like Simone Biles, Usain Bolt, Steph Curry, Thomas Davis, Novak Djokovic, Carli Lloyd, Lionel Messi, Ronda Rousey, the Kansas City Royals, or Jordan Spieth?

Sports Illustrated's stunt was demeaning to all of those sportsmen and sportswomen. It was particularly demeaning to the people of color in that group, as there is a long history of comparing people of certain races to animals and treating them as such. It was especially demeaning to Williams, as Sports Illustrated almost certainly knew at that point that she was their choice, would be the one who would be the focus of the backlash they stirred up, that the conversation about her win would likely have a different character than one about the Kansas City Royals being chosen instead of a horse.

You'd think it was rocket science crossed with a side of transfinite mathematics, no? Why do some people *cough* seem to be struggling so hard with this as a concept? Headsmack

Quite honestly, this is one of the reasons I opted out of any discussion of the topic on any of the sportsblogs I frequent. I was hoping to get away from people being deliberately ignorant about the matter. Unfortunately, I will admit it did slip my mind amongst the Holidaze that nerds can be notoriously blind when it comes to racism. They didn't see it, so of course it didn't happen at all.

/long, labored, weary sigh

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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by JP McBride on Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:54 pm

Personally, I come here to find intelligent, insightful people who disagree with me.

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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by WJMorris3 on Fri Dec 25, 2015 8:52 pm

Hats off to Serena as she was just named AP's female athlete of the year!

The rest of the top 5: Carli Lloyd, Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Breanna Stewart.

Men are announced tomorrow.

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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

Post by Wondering on Fri Aug 19, 2016 4:39 pm

Further obliteration of Serena (and Venus, too) as a person.

Andy Murray, who won men's tennis single's gold in London in 2012 and this year in Rio, was asked this by a tennis commentator:
"You’re the first person ever to win two Olympic tennis gold medals. That’s an extraordinary feat, isn’t it?”

Murray's response:
"I think Venus and Serena have won about four each."

So, good on Andy Murray for responding that way. And stuff it, commentator, who doesn't think women, and black women in this particular case, are people.

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Re: Serena Williams's Detractors

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