Sunday, September 13, 2009

Temper Temper!!

Okay.... so was Serena Williams right or was she wrong to verbally abuse a tennis line umpire during the semi-finals of the U.S. Open. I don't believe anyone is ever "right" to turn to verbal abuse. Do I understand her frustration? Totally. During a match of that nature, with a score as it was an a fault so minimal... was the umpire "right"? As I watched what transpired, I felt a little sick. An Asian official and an African American celebrity. I feared what the media would turn this into. It's sad to me that the expression of extreme emotion between two ethnic minorities brings up that fear in me. When John McEnroe had his outbursts, I had no such fears. But that's another issue.

In my opinion, Serena's outburst was irresponsible and unprofessional. No, it may not have been fair but let's face it, life has never been fair. But people and especially celebrities can not continue to rationalize their "acting out" because they feel the "cause" justifies the "effect". And don't get me wrong... I don't think that Serena should have just let it go. Experiencing intense emotion in a situation like that is natural. However, there are effective and appropriate ways to communicate anger. Serena finally released a statement that comes close to taking responsibility for her actions. I still think she owes her fans and the lineswoman a true apology. I think it's important for her to clarify that passion for a game should not be confused with license to "go off on someone." It's clear that more work needs to be done around teaching individuals how to communicate and express extreme emotions.