Let's Talk About Serena

Let's Talk About Serena

A collection of commentary and "serious journalism" on Serena Williams that has absolutely nothing to do with her success in tennis.
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Serena Williams has dominated women’s tennis for more than a decade and is considered by many to be the greatest athlete of our time. Though she has been called inconsistent, her skill and precision are unparalleled and some predict that she will win another seven or eight major titles to add to the twenty she already has before she retires. Unfortunately, it seems that people have more important things to talk about, like her race, physique, and all of the ways that she fails to fit into their idea of a traditionally attractive woman. As a result, Serena has been forced to respond to many inappropriate and dehumanizing comments from high profile individuals. While Serena and her supporters are well aware of the prejudice she faces, it can be hard to believe that the comments about her are that bad, so below is a small sample.

"With a reduction in glut, a little less butt and a smidgen more guts, Serena Williams would easily be as big as Michael Jackson, dwarf Tiger Woods and take a run at Rosa Parks." - Jason Whitlock
“Williams, who will be vying for the Wimbledon title against Garbiñe Muguruza on Saturday, has large biceps and a mold-breaking muscular frame, which packs the power and athleticism that have dominated women’s tennis for years. Her rivals could try to emulate her physique, but most of them choose not to.” - New York Times

Russian tennis official Shamil Tarpischev called Serena and Venus the “Williams brothers” and stated, "It's frightening when you look at them. But really you just need to play against the ball."

“I can’t even watch them play anymore. I find it disgusting. I find both of those, what do you want to call them—they’re just too muscular. They’re boys” - Sid Rosenberg, Imus in the Morning

Discussing this (totally awesome) tennis outfit:

On some women [the catsuit] might look good. Unfortunately, some women aren’t wearing it. On Serena, it only serves to accentuate a superstructure that is already bordering on the digitally enhanced and a rear end that I will attempt to sum up as discreetly as possible by simply referring to it as “formidable.” - Sydney Morning Herald

“[Serena Williams] is helping to transform the nature of women’s tennis into a game of muscle and power. She is turning the tennis circuit into a more diverse place. But her tight black tennis romper was the stylistic equivalent of trash talk. It looked trashy. And it did her a disservice.” - Robin Givhan, Washington Post

A spectator to Serena’s father: “I wish it was '75; we'd skin you alive."

“Tennis star Serena Williams cruised to a victory in the finals of Australian Open women's singles on Saturday and then dispatched her buttocks on Sunday to secure the doubles title. Serena beat her sister ... to win her fourth-straight major. On Sunday, her butt muscled its way to a 6-2, 6-1 title victory over the doubles pair of Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suarez. The feat is the first-known occurrence of a body part winning a professional athletic contest.” - Sportspickle

"Generally, I'm all for chunky sports stars ... but tennis requires a mobility Serena cannot hope to achieve while lugging around breasts that are registered to vote in a different US state from the rest of her. - Matthew Norman, The Independent

@serenawilliams @WTA Serena the gorilla won again pfff, grunts like one, looks like, is one. #Wimbledon— Richie (@DickLongYo) July">https://twitter.com/DickLongYo/status/619918113824... 11, 2015

"Serena Williams look like a man with tits, its only when she wears weave she looks female tbh, what a HENCH BOLD GORILLA!
— Lighty Makhaye (@MeLighty) June">https://twitter.com/MeLighty/status/60779569122686... 8, 2015

@serenawilliams is way more manly than ANY man in the #FrenchOpen It's absolutely disgusting. She's the original #CaitlynJenner
— Eric Annable (@EricAnnable) June">https://twitter.com/EricAnnable/status/60719246036... 6, 2015









At this point, you are probably (hopefully) disgusted at how many of those comments were published in newspapers or said on nationally syndicated radio programs, and you may have noticed some transphobia in addition to the racism and sexism. You may be thinking, "sticks and stones, she's so successful she should just ignore it," and to a certain extent you are right. These comments are demoralizing and not worth Serena's acknowledgment. However, I would imagine that it is tiresome when your success is attributed only to your glutes, or when people ignore your skills because they are more interested in your outfit. What many don't realize is that this attitude about Serena does actually harm her. Serena wins more prize money than any other female tennis player, by far, but makes nowhere near as much in endorsements as some of her competitors. For example, Maria Sharapova is much higher paid because she is tall, slender, and blonde and fits better into the mold of the ideal feminine athlete. While we cannot individually change how much Serena is paid, we can change how we talk about her.

  • Serena Williams is black, and while that identity is an important part of her, it does not make her a "savage" or "barbaric" player. It is inexcusable to compare her to a gorilla or any other animal. She is a human, and a very talented one at that.
  • While Serena's blackness is important because she and her sister have paved the way for other black tennis players, it does them a disservice to focus solely on that. Serena and Venus changed the game of women's tennis. They brought power and skill that no one had ever seen before, and to say that "increasing diversity" (read: happening to be black and also good at tennis) is their biggest accomplishment ignores their tremendous ability as players.
  • Serena identifies as a woman. She happens to also have been blessed with a genetic predisposition for muscle growth. It is acceptable to speculate about how she would hold up when competing against a great male tennis player. It is not acceptable to say that she is not feminine enough, or that she is not female.
  • It is okay if you do not find Serena attractive. She might just not be your type and that's totally fine. I highly doubt that she will lament over your opinion while looking at all of her trophies. That being said, if you are personally uncomfortable with the fact that she has more muscle than you do, don't go tell the Internet. If you feel emasculated, either take a sociology class and thoughtfully examine your perceptions of gender, or hit the gym. Do not take your own sense of inadequacy out on someone who has never done anything to you.

Serena has achieved outstanding success in tennis and there is nothing to suggest that she will not continue to do so. It is about time that we shift the focus from how she looks and the identities she was born with to her skill as a player, charity work, great personality, and how many more titles she'll win before she retires.


Cover Image Credit: http://eji.org/files/williams_0.jpg

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Playoff Rondo Is A Different Breed

When he’s feeling it, Rajon Rondo is one of the most fun players to watch in the NBA. Right now, he's feeling it.
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Rajon Rondo lives for the postseason.

In the 2017 NBA Playoffs, he led the Chicago Bulls to two straight victories over the Celtics. In one of them, he was a rebound shy of a triple double and had 5 steals. Then he broke his thumb and was forced to miss the rest of the series. Chicago proceeded to lose four straight and were effectively eliminated from playoff contention.

Now, for the second straight year, Rondo is showing that he’s still got it in his early 30s. To be honest, I doubted Rondo would ever be an impact player again when he struggled in Dallas and Sacramento. It seemed his attitude was going to derail his career, and he would fail to live up to his potential.

However, he has been great for New Orleans this year, and he's playing even better this postseason. In Game 1 against Portland he had 17 assists and nearly had a triple-double in Game 2 (9 assists). He has led New Orleans in performances in which they have shown good ball movement, and on more than one occasion I’ve heard people watching say, “How did Rondo fit that ball in there?”. Playing with great scorers in Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis, he seems more than comfortable in his role as a facilitator.

In addition to passing the ball extremely well, Rondo has been hustling to collect rebounds and has scored when the Pelicans have needed him to, ie. at the end of Game 2 when he hit a 3-point dagger with 38 seconds left to seal it.

The last couple of years Rondo has been stellar in the postseason, and he hasn’t lost a playoff game since 2015. His improved performance on the big stage is nothing new for him, though.

Over the course of his career, he’s averaged 3.8 more points, 1.2 more rebounds, and 0.7 more assists per game. These may not seem like significant jumps, but when you consider how many playoff games he’s competed in dating back to his days with the Paul Pierce-Ray Allen-Kevin Garnett Celtics, it becomes a bit more impressive.

When he’s feeling it, Rajon Rondo is one of the most fun players to watch in the NBA. Right now he is feeling it. The boys down in NOLA are thriving because of it--also because of Jrue Holiday’s brilliant scoring performances and Anthony Davis’s perpetual brilliance in all areas of the game.

The series with Portland has been gritty, and the Pelicans have been forced to show that they have what it takes to close games. They’ve done that, and they did it in Portland. Now they head back to the Smoothie King Center with a chance to sweep at home. With as much confidence as they’re playing with right now, that very well might happen.












Cover Image Credit: New Orleans Pelicans YouTube

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Hurricanes Lose Walker, Brown Jr., And Huell To NBA Draft

Despite losing three of their highest scorers, the Hurricanes look to make the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year in 2019.
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With Lonnie Walker (Freshman Guard), Bruce Brown Jr. (Sophomore Guard), and Dewan Huell announcing that they are leaving for the NBA draft, Jim Larranaga looks to move forward. Huell is the only one of the three that chose not to sign an agent. The significance of this is that he still has the option to return to college. Walker and Brown Jr., however, do not have this option.

Lonnie Walker had a solid year for the Miami Hurricanes. The five star recruit averaged 11.5 points and helped lead the Hurricanes to a berth in the NCAA tournament. One of his best games came at home against Boston College when he hit the game winning three. His most high scoring games were versus Boston University (26 points), versus Louisville (25 points), and @ Florida State (23 points).

Bruce Brown Jr. had a year that was shortened by injury. However, he still had a solid year. The Sophomore Guard averaged 11.4 points. His best games came versus Middle Tennessee State (20 points) and versus Florida State (23 points). Hurricanes fans were sad to see the star guard’s season end prematurely, but wish him the best in the NBA.

Dewan Huell, the third Hurricane to declare for the draft, had a breakout Sophomore season. He averaged 11.4 points. His best games were @ Minnesota (23 points), versus Middle Tennessee (21 points), and versus Florida State (20 points).

While Lonnie Walker is projected to get drafted in the first round lottery, Bruce Brown and Dewan Huell are projected to go late first or early second round.

Hopefully, the Hurricanes can rally next year and reach the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year.

As for Lonnie Walker, Bruce Brown Jr., and Dewan Huell, best of luck in the NBA!

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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