Shamil Tarpischev, a leading tennis official in Russia, has been suspended and fined $25,000 for referring to Venus and Serena Williams as the ‘Williams Brothers.’ Rude!
On a Russian TV show, Russian tennis administrator Shamil Tarpischev referred to Venus and Serena Williams as the “Williams Brothers.” He was rightly fined a whopping $25,000, as well as suspended from “any involvement with the [Women’s Tennis Association]” for one full year. His was the maximum possible punishment. Good!
Williams Sisters Called ‘Williams Brothers’ By Tennis Official: Fined $25,000
“I think the WTA did a great job of taking [the] initiative and taking immediate action to his comments,” Serena said on Oct. 19 in Singapore, as quoted by ESPN. “I thought they were very insensitive and extremely sexist as well as racist at the same time. I thought they were in a way bullying.”
No “in a way” about it! The comments were absolutely bullying.
By calling the Williams sisters men, Shamil not only demeaned them as people and dismissed their femininity, but he diminished their accomplishments by implying that only men could enjoy the same success that Serena and Venus have.
His comments were made by the kind of man who is easily threatened by a woman’s strength and power independent of a man’s influence or guidance. For a man who clearly believes in antiquated gender roles, the feeling of being threatened by a woman’s success must be pretty uncomfortable.
Williams Sisters: Tennis Community Outraged By Sexist Comments
Too bad for Shamil, though, who was faced with universal outrage from the tennis community.
“The statements made by Shamil Tarpischev on Russian television with respect to two of the greatest athletes in the history of women’s tennis are insulting, demeaning and have absolutely no place in our sport,” said Stacey Allaster, chairman and chief executive of the WTA.
“The WTA was founded on the principles of equality, opportunity and respect, and Venus and Serena embody all of these attributes,” Stacey also said, according to The New York Times. “Mr. Tarpischev’s statement questioning their gender tarnishes our great game and two of our champions. His derogatory remarks deserve to be condemned and he will be sanctioned.”
“I think [his comments] were very disrespectful and uncalled-for, and I’m glad that many people have stood up, including the WTA,” said the Williams sisters’ contemporary, Maria Sharapova. “It was very inappropriate, especially in his position and all the responsibilities that he has not just in this sport, but being part of the Olympic committee. It was just really irresponsible on his side.”
Shamil later released a non-apology for his comments, blaming the language barrier: “I regret that that joke, which when translated into English has been taken out of humorous context, was the focus of so much attention,” he said. “I do not think that this story deserves such hype. After all, everything said on the air was said without malice.”
HollywoodLifers, are you glad that Shamil was so steeply fined, or did the punishment not fit the crime? Do you believe his apology? Let us know.
— Amanda Michelle Steiner