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After further review … Serena, tennis fans slam umpire, and football is back

By now you’ve likely heard about the chaos during the women’s final at the U.S. Open. It certainly led to more conversation about tennis, but likely not in a way the USTA planned for its biggest event and PR blitz of the year. And football, from college to the NFL, is back in a big way. The drama fans appreciate finally moves onto the field rather than off. After further review …

• Serena slams umpire and fans respond loudly — You’ve seen the video if you didn’t watch the match live… Twenty-three time Grand Slam title holder, Serena Williams was unprecedentedly penalized and lost her cool during the women’s final of tennis’ U.S. Open during which her opponent, Naomi Osaka, dominated play. Williams was docked a point, then a game then $17,000 for coaching, slamming a racquet and “verbal abuse.” When the dust settled, Osaka was rightfully praised for her poise and play, but a cloud continues to hang over tennis and its organizing bodies. Early in the tournament, Alize Cornet was penalized for changing her shirt on the court (she wore a sports bra underneath) during excruciatingly hot conditions. The tournament culminated with women’s championship chair umpire Carlos Ramos assessing penalties to Williams for actions men exhibited throughout the fortnight and weren’t docked (highly ranked men confirmed during and after the match). While Williams may have taken a tempest and made it a typhoon, the basis of her arguments were justified. Add to that an air of racism which tennis icon and U.S. National Tennis Center namesake, Billy Jean King, and others noted. There is a double-standard, which for a tournament that awards equal money to its champions, is ironic. A few fans said they’re fed up. This isn’t the kind of PR, particularly American tennis, wants for its prized event. It’s a sport that’s worked for years to attract more players and fans. To maintain its current base and bring new ones into the fold, tennis has to make the sport’s rules at its highest levels more consistent, period. 🎾

• Football frenzy — After months of off-the-field drama, football teams finally went back to playing real games (college started last week), and despite rumors of its demise, it looks as if people still like it. There were predictable beatdowns in college, but surprises ensued in both pro and college. Fans watched in big ways. For those that point to numbers that are lower than in ratings heydays, I direct you to cord cutters and changing consumer viewing habits. When it comes to sports, football shows it still rules. 🏈

• Reflect and renew — Some people just began a new year with kids that returned to school and many who went back to regular work schedules. Today marks the first day of 5779 for those who celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It’s all an opportunity for us to reflect and renew. Who do we really want to be? What can and will we do differently? How can we be better people? (For me, those are daily questions!) L’shana Tova to MOTs. May the New Year, regardless of what one(s) you celebrate, be a sweet one. 🍎



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