After the tennis star Serena Williams accused the professional tennis umpire of sexism in her loss at the U.S. Open, top umpires are now taking a stand in defense, threatening to unionize and boycott.
On Saturday, Williams was defeated in a 6-2, 6-4 loss against Naomi Osaka at the U.S. Open Women’s Final after receiving three violations from chair umpire, Carlos Ramos: illegal coaching, racquet abuse, and verbal abuse.
Since the match, umpires have backed Ramos, saying they are “disturbed” by Williams’ poor behavior and the lack of defense for Ramos, Fox News reported.
Some of the top tennis umpires are thinking of forming a union after Ramos was “hung out to dry” by authorities, even though the umpires are not technically allowed to speak publicly, according to The Guardian.
“There is a lot of unhappiness in the umpiring community because no one is standing up for officials,” the anonymous senior umpire told the Guardian.
“Umpires keep asking: ‘What if it was me in that chair on Saturday?’ There is a widespread feeling that Carlos was hung out to dry for nearly 48 hours and that no one is standing up for officials.”
“Umpires don’t have any independent means of representation and are employed by the governing bodies. If talking to the media is not allowed, and governing bodies are speaking out against them, what are umpires supposed to do?” an anonymous source said.
Several umpires are privately pushing for a union.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) released a statement in defense of the “most experienced and respected umpires in tennis”:
— ITF (@ITF_Tennis) September 10, 2018
During the match, Williams said that Ramos had different standards for men and women.
The first violation came when Ramos said Williams received coaching earlier in the set, to which she responded, “I don’t cheat.”
“You owe me an apology!”
Serena was fired up with the official in the final set of the US Open final. pic.twitter.com/r6RSbrirnV
— ESPN (@espn) September 8, 2018
The second violation came when Williams smashed her racquet, and yelled at Ramos again.
“You are attacking my character,” Williams said. “You will never ever, ever be on another court of mine as long as you live.”
“You stole a point from me; you’re a thief, too,” Williams told Ramos, bringing about her third violation after calling him a “thief” and “liar” — a verbal abuse violation, causing an automatic game loss in the second set.
Then came the sexism accusations from the tennis star:
“Do you know how many other men do things that are much worse than that? This is not fair. There’s a lot of men out here that have said a lot of things, and because they are men, that doesn’t happen to them.
There are men out here that do a lot worse but because I’m a woman, because I’m a woman you’re going to take this away from me? That is not right.”
According to the 2018 Official Grand Slam Rule Book:
… verbal abuse is defined as a statement about an official, opponent, sponsor, spectator or other person that implies dishonesty or is derogatory, insulting or otherwise abusive.