By Ken Reed
Serena Williams has apologized. Finally.
Williams’ boorish behavior and poor sportsmanship in last year’s U.S. Open final overshadowed what should have been a grand moment for a young star from Japan named Naomi Osaka.
Osaka won the match, resulting in her first major tournament victory, but not before Williams embarrassed herself and the game of tennis with a series of outbursts that earned her several code violations.
The childish antics of Williams took away a lot of the joy from winning for Osaka, who is nearly 17 years younger than Williams. After the match, instead of celebrating the biggest win of her career, Osaka sat on her chair with a towel over her head, filled with conflicting emotions.
It was shameful for Serena to put her in this unfortunate — but easily preventable — spot.
Osaka carried herself with great poise, composure and dignity, during and after this match, while Serena acted like a spoiled brat and bully. To win, not only did Osaka have to overcome Williams’ tremendous tennis talent, she had to overcome Serena’s terrible behavior and the unsportsmanlike crowd response it generated.
Well, close to a year, after the ugly incident, Serena says she’s found peace after writing a letter to Osaka apologizing for her behavior in last year’s U.S. Open final and saying she was “truly sorry.”
“I started seeing a therapist. I was searching for answers, and although I felt like I was making progress, I still wasn’t ready to pick up a racket,” Williams said.
“Finally I realized that there was only one way for me to move forward. It was time for me to apologize to the person who deserved it the most.”
Osaka responded positively to the note, which brought immediate relief to Williams.
“When Naomi’s response came through, tears rolled down my face,” said Williams.
Kudos to Serena for apologizing to Osaka, even if it took her a long time to do it. I’m sure it brought some relief and closure to Osaka as well as Serena.
Certainly, it would have been better if the apology had come much sooner. But, better late than never.
In a side note: It appears Serena’s peaceful mindset didn’t last too long as she was fined $10,000 by the All England Club for damaging a court with her raquet during practice before the start of this year’s Wimbledon tournament.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
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Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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