This Cartoon Of Serena Williams Depicting Her U.S. Open Outburst Is Pretty Racist
People are still talking about the U.S. Open Women’s Final that took place on Saturday between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka. While the match itself was competitive and thrilling to watch, it was Williams’ interaction with umpire Carlos Ramos that caused the most controversy. After spotting Williams’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, attempting to instruct the tennis star from the stands, Ramos penalized Williams, and she objected to the code violation, saying claims she even saw and took that coaching were similar to calling her a cheater. When she went on to play, frustrated by the situation, and having Osaka break her serve, Williams broke her racket and was given a point penalty for it. When she returned to her seat later, she continued to go back and forth with Ramos, telling him that he owed her an apology and at one point calling him a “thief.” She was docked a game for verbal abuse, putting Osaka one game away from the championship, which she would go on to win.
Williams cited her treatment as a form of sexism and was fined $17,000 for all three violations.
“I can’t sit here and say I wouldn’t say he’s a thief, because I thought he took a game from me,” Williams said in the post-game interview. “I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things. I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief.’”
People have all sorts of things to say about the incident and how it was handled by both Williams and Ramos, but one person whose opinion on it is clear is cartoonist Mark Knight. He drew a cartoon of how he felt Williams dealt with the violations for Australian newspaper the Herald Sun, pretty much saying she acted like a big baby. Her expression of anger was deemed as childish in the image, and he made the tennis legend look like this:
The red lips are giving us old-school caricature, Sambo vibes. And the depiction of her body, as massive, particularly her arms and breasts, is pretty over-the-top. Not to mention, Osaka is depicted as a faceless figure who could be mistaken for a white woman, which, in real life, is definitely not the case for the half-Black, half-Japanese star. The image immediately made people uncomfortable, including sports journalist Jemele Hill.
Even writer J.K. Rowling had to step up and call out the cartoonist for his depiction of both Williams and Osaka.
Williams hasn’t said anything since Saturday after the finals match press, so this caricature likely won’t be on her radar, especially since she’s received so much support. Still, the cartoon needs to go.