Serena Williams
Phot Credit: Reuters

Diversity And Gender Bias In Sports: Lessons From The Naomi Osaka-Serena Williams U.S. Open Final

Two days ago Naomi Osaka beat Serena Williams in the Women’s Final of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament. The somewhat surprising outcome of this match was largely overshadowed by controversy surrounding a clash between Williams and the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos. You can find detailed descriptions of the incident elsewhere; in a nutshell, after losing the first set, Williams was issued a code violation early in the second set, and over the next few games the situation unraveled, with Williams becoming increasingly frustrated about the initial code violation, which ultimately led to Ramos issuing two additional code violations and the loss of a game point against Williams, putting her in a 5-3 deficit. Osaka won the match two games later with a final score of 6-2, 6-4.

During the final stages of the altercation, while appealing the umpire’s decision with tournament officials, Williams suggested that the umpire’s behavior was unfair, complaining that “There’s a lot of men out here that have said a lot of things, but if they’re men, that doesn’t happen to them.” Williams’ accusation started a heated debate about biases and sexism, with many notable people weighing in – some agreeing and some disagreeing with Williams’ accusation of sexism.

There are a lot of useful lessons to be gleamed from this incident, such as the importance of being able to defuse contentious situations, and the problems caused by rules that are not meaningful and enforced inconsistently. In this blog I explore four issues specifically related to diversity.

To read the full article by Paolo Gaudiano, visit Forbes.

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