As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Novak Djokovic was defaulted from the US Open yesterday because he hit a lineswoman with a tennis ball.
Almost immediately, many people said the call was too harsh, he should’ve just lost a point or a game, blah blah blah. Now if you watch the video of what happened, it’s clear Novak should have been able to see the lineswoman standing there in his peripheral vision when he hit the ball. The ball person was nowhere near where he directed the ball. The man is the top-seeded male tennis player in the world, you’re gonna tell me he doesn’t know how to aim a tennis ball??
To be clear, I’m not saying Novak hit the woman on purpose. Not at all. I’m saying he acted in a reckless, careless manner because he was mad and he deserved to reap the consequence of his reckless, careless action.
A comment on ESPN’s tweet about the incident said, “If Serena did this you’d be lit up.” I have to say when I saw what happened, one of my first thoughts was how the press and fans would’ve reacted if Serena Williams had done this. It wouldn’t have been pretty, trust me. So I responded to this tweet by saying, “My literal first thought. If she had done this, people would be saying she should never be allowed to play tennis again.”
And let me tell you, the colonizers got in their feelings about this tweet. I got responses from that’s not what this is about to how ridiculous the ruling was to the racist and sexist “Didn’t she (Serena) go off on a ref (it was a linesperson by the way, not the referee) during a match though???”
If you’re wondering why that last comment is racist and sexist, it’s for a couple reasons. One, how is Serena yelling at a linesperson even relevant here? I’ll help you, it isn’t. Which leads to the second reason. By posing the question, the asker is implying Serena yelling at a linesperson is analogous to Djokovic actually hitting a linesperson in the throat with a tennis ball. It isn’t.
But shockingly, this isn’t even the response that bothered me the most. This one is: “You’re not understanding. Regardless, it was a clear mistake, and he wasn’t aiming to hit her or hurt her in any way. The ball wasn’t even hit that hard. Just bad luck. You all need to just stop with your righteousness, it’s absurd. This is a sport. Shit happens.” In looking at the comments to ESPN’s tweet, many people, including many white men, talked about how the penalty Novak suffered is too great because he didn’t hit the lineswoman intentionally and how the ball wasn’t hit “that hard.”
I’ve always known the privilege afforded to a white man is extreme, but in seeing responses to this incident, I now know it has ZERO bounds. This man hit a white woman IN THE THROAT and people are defending him?! People, particularly white men, are so unfamiliar with seeing a white man held accountable for his actions, Novak being defaulted has made them lose their minds.
Him hitting her unintentionally isn’t relevant because that has no influence on the application of the rule. The ball wasn’t hit that hard?! Are these people fucking kidding?! Why don’t they ask the woman who was hit how hard the ball was hit? Better yet, let the top-seeded man in tennis whack a ball at your throat, then tell me how it feels. I mean there is so little compassion in this response, it’s grotesque.
When Denis Shapovalov was asked about the incident after his match, he even said he felt bad for Novak before expressing his compassion for the lineswoman and he made sure to say Novak’s actions weren’t intentional.
I’m tired of the diminishing of the harm men, particularly white men, cause women. If women are ever going to receive equal treatment in our society, this needs to change. Preferably immediately.