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September 14th, 2009
08:29 AM ET

Serena Williams: Did She Cross the Line?

Tennis star Serena Williams' outburst at the U.S. Open: was it justified or out of line?

Leave us a comment.
We'll share some of them in the CNN Newsroom, 11am-1pm ET.


Filed under: Tony Harris
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. Mark

    Yes and No.

    She didn't foul, but her reaction was. She needs to formally apologize. I know she apologized under her breath, and that she plays "with passion," but she was wrong (period) – and she knows this.

    I teach my little league football team to NEVER leave anything to chance.. or an official. "Life is not fair, so we must prepare. You must practice twice as hard as your opponent. ... you never want to be in a position where a bad call can decide a game." This is why we often run up the score in games despite what opposing teams parents believe. Unsportsman like? – Kind of like life?

    Serena & Venus we still love you, but you haven't played well all year. Considering your injuries you're doing well, but you need to refocus. Keep representing the USA. You're all we have as far as female tennis players in the top 70 other than Oudin.

    September 14, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  2. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Why wasnt a penalty not an option .

    September 14, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  3. Fran Archambeau

    I believe she was out of line, but her punishment should be fair and in accordance with past offenders. What kind of punishment did Macenroe get for his outbursts? (white male)

    September 14, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  4. T. Williams

    competitive sports are exactly that and it can get intense, I feel that athletes should be allowed to vent those HIGH emotions that competitive sports incur.

    As long as she did not HIT anyone, I think minimal penalties could be applied, if any.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  5. Rich

    Can you guys dig back and show some prior similar-type incidents, and see if the related sanctions/punishments where consistent, or more/less severe?

    September 14, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  6. Jon

    She was completely out of line! I have played sports all my life and I know how it feels to be upset during a game, but you have to keep your composure no matter what is happening. Especially if you are a pro athlete! She embarrassed herself and her family. Its too bad!

    September 14, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  7. Amar

    That outburst was definitely uncalled for. Yea, there are definitely some unfair calls but there's no need to go and threaten a line judge for what she might have seen as a foot fault. Tennis is a game of finesse and poise which is balanced out with power, determination, and passion. Nobody doubt's her passion, but losing your cool with one bad call completely undermines her credibility and sends a bad message to every other aspiring player out there. It's one thing to argue the call, and it's another to say you're going to shove a ball down the line judge's throat.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  8. Rose lee

    Oh yes. Just a spoiled brat stealing clijsters win! And to still act with no remorse afterwards. The fans will take care of her too

    September 14, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  9. Marcus

    I think she overreacted, but do I think that a fine was warranted... NO! I think suspension would be overkill, because I have seen worst said at tennis matches. Definitely on the Men's side of the game. I think the press made it a bigger issue than it was. I have seen rackets thrown in the audience, so to me her arguing about a bad call was understandable. She's human.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  10. Jim Kadow

    YES, Serena did cross the line. She broke several laws, and the Line Judge should be able to file a formal complaint...

    September 14, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  11. Lee

    Yes, Serena crossed the line but what she did was in the heat of the battle and should be taken as such. The fine that was handed out was justified but to take all of her earnings is overkill...Can you say John McEnroe?

    September 14, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  12. Dr Dona

    Yes,

    It perhaps reflects a deeper attitude of Serena's towards her 'sport'. She plays and acts more like a tennis thug than a tennis player.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  13. Alex Vella

    I saw the whole episode. The lineswoman was out of line when she first called Serena for a foot fault. At this critical time in Serena's frustration, this lineswoman should be reprimanded for calling a foot fault when there wasn't any. Shame on her! Serena was obviously mad about her play and that only fueled her frustration level that much higher. Serena needs to control herself and if there is such a thing call that lines person to a challenge. I believe that's when the referee should have stepped in and over ruled the lines woman. The referee could have very well stepped in and prevented this mess. USTA you need help!

    September 14, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  14. KL White

    NO. She was caught up in the grip of competition and could not believe an official made such a questionable call at such a crucial moment as she was battling back in a major championship match.

    When you put into context not only that particular match, but all that was at stake for the year, that was the wrong call at the wrong time.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  15. Peter

    Bad call worse response.
    Her actions were not justified, I understand her frustration but she went way over the line.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  16. Ariel

    Serena did not cross the court line, but I do believe that her behavior was out of line. She is a role model. I would hope that no one would speak to her the way she spoke to the line judge, but what goes around does come back around. The fine of $10,000 is fair, but I do not believe that her other titles should be called into question (its not like she was using performance enhancing drugs)

    September 14, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  17. Jake

    Serena crossed the line big time. We see people yell at each other in other sports constantly, but we never really hear what is said. In this case though, she was speaking loud and clearly with spectators sitting right there, plus children around the world listneing as well...can't believe she would say stuff like that, and then not show remorse afterwards and apologize....there is no excuse for what she did. She needs to be suspended for the rest of the season. After a big apology, she should be allowed to return Jan. 1, 2010.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  18. Jean

    She should NOT be allowed to play in the doubles today. She should have her winnings from the 2009 Open taken away. We have 2 “gentlemen’s sports” left – tennis and golf. She disrespected the tennis world and should not benefit from the fans who had to watch the tirade. I wonder if we would have seen the same tirade if the linesperson had been a large burly man?

    September 14, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  19. Dave M.

    No, she acted she acted out. Compared to other sports players, you can be thankful she only acted out and didn't hit and run anyone. There is far worse out there why focus on her?

    September 14, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  20. Robert Schelhammer

    What line? The line for women? men? Just tennis or all sports. This is ridiculous. Why shouldn't she let loose? Have any of you watched football? Soccer? Want me to go on? So what's good for men in sports, which is clearly cursing from sunup till sundown, you can read their lips, is not good for women? Beware! Everybody's got a right to lose it, including that crazed congress person, unless something has happened where we're all supposed to be perfect. The double standard is a bright as a hundred watt bulb. And the three announcers for the men's final last night should have their mouths taped shut unless of course Mary Carillo, Ms. Fernandez and Ms. Shriver all became saints overnight and forgot to tell us. Everyone needs to get off their extremely high horses and remember for a moment Connors and McEnroe and then come back at me with your complaints about Serena Williams.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  21. Clinton C.

    Serena Williams is a phenomenal tennis player; I have been watching her and Venus for years. However, everything in her body language, facial features, and tone in voice (although inaudible) suggests that she was in the wrong when addressing the lineswoman. This diminishes her capacity to be looked upon with a sense of sportsmanship. She deserved the penalty, the match, and she deserves the upcoming fine. I have a feeling she will learn a lesson and come out the better for it.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  22. Paul Taylor

    I think there is no excuse for her behavior on court however,,,prior to her outburst and during a rain delays at each and every Grand Slam event all any network shows are the outburst from McEnroe and Connors getting in judges faces and pointing rackets the same way Serena did. I've been watching and playing tennis for years and don't remember either of them getting suspended from tennis. What kind of double standard is this?

    September 14, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  23. Claire Slattery

    Serena Williams should be suspended for her horrible conduct, and she should be required to issue or personally present an apology to the linesperson whom she abused. Such conduct should not be allowed by anyone; a point loss and a $10K fine are nothing. Serena should not get special treatment because she's one of the top players. Even in interviews after the incident, she showed no remorse for her inexcusable behavior.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  24. Pam Miles

    I think they should do what Nascar does when a driver behaves poorly. They take points away. They should do the same to Serena so she can't become number one next Monday.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  25. John

    Tony:

    What do you expect? In this crazy Obama world, no-one is held responsible for their actions anymore. People get into debt without regard for the consequences and expect the government to bail them out. Politicians lie cheat and steal and we all turn the other cheek. Businesses operate illegally and we simply shrug. We are involved in wars that one political party claims is just and essential while the other party criticizes that war and starts another. Sports players take drugs, murder dogs and get slapped on the wrist. The world is crazy now, no-one wants to own responsibility for their own actions so why would we be surprised when Serena Williams behaves as she did. There will be no consequences because the sponsors will put money over ethics every time.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  26. Ron Miller

    Tony:

    Her outburst was absolutely not justified. These star athletes are expected to be held accountable for their actions and are to be looked at at a higher level. And a suspension is absolutely not out of the question – in fact I would like to see that happen. It occurs in most major sports (MLB, NHL, NBA, etc.) and the USTA should not be the exception. Ask Michael Vick, Michael Phelps and Pete Rose.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  27. Tennisfan

    I can't believe this is even a question. Threatening bodily harm? Come on. At the very least, she needs to take time to calm her "passion" and sit the rest of the tournament out (doubles matches). If she has any class, she will do this voluntarily before it is enforced involuntarily.

    It is upsetting to see an athlete of her caliber set such a poor example.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  28. karen

    Serena definitely crossed the line with her outrage.
    A very bad example for the young tennis stars of tomorrow.
    Shame on you Serena!

    September 14, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  29. Julie

    This is rediculous!! Ok she had an outburst,..but how much times did Agassi had millions of ourburst throughout his years playing tennis. Everyone found that as a joke,..but want to crucify,..my girl Serena?? You fined her,.... she apologized,...... Ok since no one wants to say it I will,...ITS BECAUSE SHE IS A BLACK WOMAN!! Give it a rest!

    September 14, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  30. Chris Woodruff

    No, I don’t think Serena was out of line.

    Let us not forget Ilie Nastase and John McEnroe.

    Chris Woodruff
    San Antonio, TX

    September 14, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  31. Frank

    Serena's behavior cannot be excused BUT, (1) you don't call a foot fault at that stage in a semi-final match (2) the lines woman overstated Serena's remarks saying that Serena threatened to kill her and (3) it appears that there was NO foot fault. Both the Open (officiating) and Ms. Williams are a fault.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  32. Sachi

    Did Serena cross the line? Yes. She had every right to be upset at the call, but she had no right to verbally abuse and threaten physical harm to the linesperson. And by still not apologizing for her actions, she's setting a terrible example for young women who look up to her.

    In my opinion, a fine was too light a penalty, she should have been suspended for the rest of the Open. That would establish the precedent that vulgar behavior like that will not be tolerated on the court, no matter who you are.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  33. Nick

    She is a roll model and needs to act like one. Its ok to question the call, but she totally went overboard and deserved to lose the match.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  34. Lee Ellett

    Did she cross the line? It was obvious that she crossed over the line even to the most casual of observer! Need anyone ask this question?
    This behavior was not acceptable when Connors or MacEnroe did it and it certainly is not acceptable when Serena or anyone else does it.
    She got her lunch handed to her by her opponent and she just has to take the lumps with all the other success she has enjoyed and SHUT THE HELL UP!

    September 14, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  35. Marc Velez

    Hello Tony, big fan. As per your Serena Williams posting she absolutely crossed the line. I watched the match, and she clearly was not playing well. If anything, she should not be allowed to play the doubles final. Poor sportsmanship should not be condoned in any sport. As soon as she started dropping "f's" bombs she proved once again that conduct with men and women are not handled the same. Had Tony Romo or Tom Brady flipped out on a referee during a national broadcast the way Serena did, the NFL would have had their heads. Also is just too much of a coincidence that her book is out and she's making the rounds at talk shows all week, all publicity(even terrible) is good publicity.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  36. Marie

    Yes it was justified. But she should have gotten more.... like banned from the rest of the US Open tournament. She needs to be totally out for the year, meaning she shouldn't be allowed to play her doubles match today. Both the Williams sisters are so talented, and early on their temper and arrogance used to be a common occurrence.
    I thought they had both mellowed in recent years, but apparently not.
    And to counter her argument that 'plenty of players have voiced their anger at referees before this'--yes, but they never used such blatant profanity and downright threats to the judges as Serena did on Saturday night. Clijsters had her beat, and Serena is a poor loser.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  37. paapa

    Look Serena kept quiet throughout the game when this lineswoman made terrible calls. She finally had it when she handed the game over with the rather very dubious call. That crossed-eyed line person in thick glasses really needs to retire.

    i am pretty fed up with the manipulation these Williams sister suffer. Becuas ethey dominate the game, now they are consciously placed so that BY ALL MEANS have to meet BEFORE FINALS guaranteeing that there is no more wiliiams-williams dominated finals. We are no blind to all these manipulations okay

    Terrible/dubious calls have been made on court over the years against these two girls. ENOUGH ALREADY!!

    September 14, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  38. Florence

    Serena did cross the line and the fine is justified. She needs to sincerely apologize and then move on.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  39. Richard Ahern

    She crossed the line. The youth and adults of America need to know that bad behavior should be punished. A fine is meaningless. If there is no suspension for future events,the there is no real punishment!

    September 14, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  40. Gbenga Sogbamu

    Serena's outburst was over the top certainly. But it's unfair if Serena is made the only focal point in this issue. The lines woman made a bad foot fault call. Foot fault calls are rarely made in Tennis and given the fact that Serena was under pressure to save a match point and keep herself in the game such a call can be frustrating. The lines woman should have let play continue when she was not sure of the foot fault. The world tennis body should incorporate rules that will enable players to challenge a foot fault call to prevent such outburst.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  41. Julie

    I mean Macenroe ,...not Agassi.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  42. John Richards

    She totally crossed the line. Where is a link to the un-sensored verision of what she said.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  43. robert rankin

    Bad call but really bad reaction from Serena. Her non-apology was even worse. Saying she doesn't remember what she said???? BS.
    What's not being talked about, is the deep rooted racial undertones between Asians and Blacks that may have been at work here, going back to Serena's childhood in Carson Ca. Perhaps the poor little lines-woman had a hidden agenda too. Regardless, tennis's $10,000 fine was a joke. It was a physical threat, not just an argument or temper tantrum towards an official. Take away her tournament earnings and suspend her.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  44. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Its a good thing these judges dont pass out punisments at football and baseball games because there wouldnt be any one left to play the game.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  45. Odelia

    I believe that she finally got tired of lines people and officials cheating her with bad calls throughout her career. I am sure she is not the first person who has ever foot faulted and I have never seen another championship match where someone was called on a foot fault. I hardly believe this is the first or the only time a foot fault at such a stage in the match has occurred. She shouldn't have cursed at the lines woman or pointed at her and she did apologize to Kim and the lines woman. This additional fine and possibly suspension is uncalled for since this is the first time in her more than 10 year career that this has happened. I still love you Serena and look forward to your success at the Australian Open next year!

    September 14, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  46. Denise from Phoenixville

    Yes, Serena did cross a line. She understands that, and has acknowledged her transgression in a statement she released over the weekend.

    As a rabid Serena fan, I am disappointed at her behavior, but truthfully, I have had my "over-the-top" moments, too, and I understand how the "rage monster" can take over and all rationality goes out the window.

    On the other hand, Serena is consistently acknowledged as one of the most fair and sportsmanlike players in tennis. In spite of this, she has been subjected to many incidents of blatently bad calls, opponents whose behavior borders on cheating and Serena pays the consequences, and very harsh criticism from commentator and fans.

    While I don't excuse her behavior, the call was really was bad, and it seems like they were only calling the ridiculous foot faults on the Williams sisters (5 on Venus alone one night). I watched the entire tournament, and can only recall one other call on a player who is not a Williams. Again, this doesn't excuse the outburst, but boy, it's hard enough to win a tournament without being subjected to the mess that Serena has had to endure!

    September 14, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  47. Marc Velez

    No need to compare Serena to McEnroe, HE NEVER DROPPED "F" BOMBS ON NATIONAL TELEVISION!!! He was good tv and def not an idiot.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  48. Mari Della Rosa

    I watched this match, it's disturbing how she acted. In the first set, she threw her racket down so hard she imploded the frame. She severely lost the first set, and was losing the 2nd when she went on her tirade against the lines person. I don't understand how she feels that person made her lose the match? Her own uncontrollable behavior, and suspected ego, lost her the match. The fine isn't enough, players should take great pride in their sport and represent it properly. What she showed was an adult having a fit like a child, and that is what's being focused on. Clijsters who won the match, after a 2 year retirement, where she had a child, achieved a great hurdle. No mother has ever won a major tournament in the history of Tennis. Yet, Serena's actions diminish all of that. She should have been suspended, if only for the rest of the tournament, she shouldn't have been allowed to play doubles.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  49. Richard Ahern

    I have read previous comments excusing Serena, and now realize why parents at youth sorts feel justified in yelling "kill the umpire/referee.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  50. keith

    Everybody seems so ready to jump on Serena, with no attention at all as to the merits of her complaint.....there was no direct vedio review of the footfalt call, as to where exactly Serena's foot was. They showed several of her prior serves from the rear. They looked no different from the serve that the lines women called a foot falt. The main difference was that it was on a match point, which seemed calculating to me. However the whole media drama was on Serena blowing up, not a good side vedio review of where her foot actually was......on the line or not. From the rear (the view the lines women had, and the one they showed in review on tv, the foot placement looked no different from other serves which they reviewed. Serena shouldn't have berated the women, but I can understand her outrage as to the timing and nitpicking nature of the call (since the foot fault was not obvious at all in the replays from the rear). I think there has been a total over reaction to this. She should not be fined or suffer further humiliation by the Tennis Commission.......what the officals should do is to review the vedio for validity, and investigate the lines person's possible motives for sabatoging the match in the way she did.....This would only be fair considering it was her QUESTIONABLE call initiating this situation.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  51. Michael Sanders

    Hi Tony,
    Williams not only deserved the penalty, she should have to give a formal written apology.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  52. JACQUES MONTGOMERY

    Serena wasnt wrong at all to me especially when I didnt even see a foot fault . It just seems strange that both Williams sisters got a lot of foot faults while playing against kim and some of the foot faults were called after a ace was called hmmm , maybe her outbust will make grand slam officials realize that when you have the best players playing you need the best lines callers and ref. In case you didnt see twice when kim was serving she hit the ball out and was never called for them but Serena won the points, so im sure Serena felt like here we go again the same old bull crap before they got the challenge system same old dog just a new trick.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  53. shirley

    she was soooooooo out of line,but maybe in true character,we saw who she really is!
    She should be kicked out if that sport ,if not for good,at least 5 years...

    September 14, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  54. Anu

    Serena's behavior on the court was completely out of line, but her lack of remorse and childish interviews afterwards were truly egregious. This immature person is a poor ambassador to our country and an extremely poor role model for our youth. The fines levied are not enough. Serena Williams should be suspended.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  55. terry

    I think her lack of character came to the surface.All the spin in the world, and all the interviews that will follow which is nothing more than damage control to protect her endorsements,etc., will not change that.
    In comparing her to McEnroe, Yes, they both lack character.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  56. Allyn

    I believe that Serena should have been checked for her actions and possably fined. That being said the continued attention placed on this by one of the cometators is un nessary . I would hate for this to shadow there legacy. And yes she should make a formal apology the sooner the better. And yes we forgive and Love you 🙂

    September 14, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  57. Roma Marcano

    OK...Let's see how this action by Serena wil play out. There have been serious outburst by a male tennis player who cuss, swear etc. I guess they have been waiting for a long time to go after the William sisters. She will not be the first or the last. She has openly apologise so treat her the way they treated the male tennis player who had a reputation for serious outburst on the court

    September 14, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  58. Don

    Yeah, she crossed the line and is paying the price for it.
    But why are the Williams' sisters being called out on
    "foot faults" disproportionately over other female tennis players?
    Why isn't this being investigated?

    September 14, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  59. stanley

    Yes, Serena was infact absolutely out of line. Even if it was the case that she actually fouled she had no right to respond the way she did. Serena is a a professional athlete therefore she should conduct herself in the manner a professional should. Serena has been in the same enviorment for quite some time consequently she should be aware that she has to control herself and be perceptive that negative reactions have repercussions.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  60. Sean Phillips

    Serena, absolutely crossed the line. The line judge is about half her size, and she bullied her with threats and intimidation. I watched the whole match, and she was obviously frustrated by her sub-par performance. In baseball (e.g.) if you cross the line and threaten an umpire, you get fined and suspended. If it was only a typical pro-tennis player temper tantrum, then a fine would be adequate. But, I'm sick and tired of seeing these super wealthy and privileged athletes crossing the line into areas that I feel are well beyond the spectrum of normal displays of stress. In my workplace, the slightest tinge of any personal anger outbursts even without any threatening nature results in the loss of your job. How do we hold these athletes out to be role models to our younger segment of our population, when they're shown as being held to a much lower code of ethics then everyday working stiffs. I'm just tired of seeing rich and privileged brats, that are not being held to the same code of ethics that the general population are bound to everyday.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  61. Geri

    I think Serena over reacted in the heat of the moment. Her emotional outburst was a disgrace as a role model and sends a bad taste to aspiring future young tennis hopefuls as well as a bad name for tennis around the world. $10,500.00 is in my opinion a minimal fine and in any other sport the consequences for such behavior would result in a suspension.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  62. angie

    Yes Serena did cross the line. Yes she was fined on two separte, one being over 1,000 dollars and the other a 500 dollars. Plus as a penalty she lost the game, was dropped from the game, lost points and score she had from the game. And the game was automatically GIVEN to her opponent.
    She did get penalized, The game was over this weekend.
    When male athlets swear, and rant it's usually over after they get their penalties.
    So why are we still talking about it.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  63. Rosetta

    WHile Serena's comments were over the top, does anybody recall a young man named McEnroe? Serena is generally known for her composure on the court. In the face of all the reaction to her outburst, why has no one addressed the egregious call by the linesperson? To have a call made in error at such a critical point in a match, and not just any match. To me, that is a hundred times worse and it bothers me that Serena is getting slammed for this as if she does it all the time. Giver her credit for usually being a good sportsperson. She lost it ONE time.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  64. Lois Ann

    Serena, wake up!! You lost it and you should publicly and personally apologize to the line judge. If you don't fee this way, then watch the video of yourself. Millions around the world have and you need to "step up" and "have heart". You will never have "moved on" in the eyes of the public if you don't. As far as the maximum monetary $10,000.00 and $500.00 fines, what a joke. That match alone paid $350,000.00. Tennis has always been the leader in area's of sport integrity, such as doping, and I hope the review does not take a step back now. I'm proud to be a Tennis Fan; don't let me down like other sports authorities have.

    Lois Ann
    Cincinnati, Ohio

    September 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  65. Betty Phillips

    Yes! Yes! she crossed the line big time!!! When watching this woman perform, she always show an attitude, I am glad it has caught up with her. Her behavior only shows that we certainly are having problems with our Black race (Please do not say I am a racist). Look at this ladys behavior, the behavior of the black man interupting Taylor Swifts thank you speech, just too mention a couple of incidents, why is this happenning so often? It is because they think they have the right to behave in any manner they choose because we have a Black President, well guess what he is the President of the White population also, so should all Americans make life just miserable with each other?? I think not. Here is an eye opener for you. Look at what happened with ACORN, now tell me that the black population is feeling that they are untouchable??? You know I am speaking the whole truth. God bless America during these troubling times. We need more prayers and less bitterness, it will certainly prove to be a good thing. Betty

    September 14, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  66. RIC

    totally she cross the line, she'll soon realize w/. her outburst people will hate her.. she has all the money anyways; total ban from us open competition shld. be the appropriate penalty. live up w/. the word "sports " w/c. means fair play.. if the line man was wrong , be it, there is the saying referees call, it happens in all sports ei, baseball, basketball, footbal and all other sport..her desire to win is over..hey serena, make a movie, team up w/. mcenroe. the movie title – spoiled brats- this will surely a big hit.....top gross more than your entire earning.....

    September 14, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  67. Odelia

    To those of you who claim she behaved poorly especially when she threw down the racket, did you forget the other half dozen players who also did the same when they got mad? One male player even threw down the rack so hard, it bounced back up and hit him in the jaw. Serena is hardly the first person to destroy a racket after losing a set. I don't excuse her behavior but its amazing how everyone wants to throw every fine and penalty under the sun at her for a first time offense. If it were Dinara Safina, who is known for breaking rackets and even vandalizing the flowers at the French Open with her racket, we wouldn't even be having this conversation!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  68. Croix Coppage

    First, I am a huge Williams sisters fan! However, this situation is not as cut and dry as many want to make it out to be. Equity is important here.

    Serena may have overreacted to the situation; and yes, she could have handled the situation differently, but hindsight is 20/20. When adrenaline is flowing at such an elevated rate, rational thinking is more often than not, suppressed, leaving the instinct of fight or flight to kick into action. As such, Serena was under extreme pressure, and to have an erroneous foot fault called at such a crucial time of the match was the straw on the proverbial camel's back, especially when foot faulting statistically is not the norm for her; even the replay supported the fact the the call was erroneous.

    With that said, yes, Serena should be accountable for her actions, and as per the rules, she should have lost the point, be fined, and perhaps a short suspension from singles may be warranted; and from a PR perspective, she should publicly apologize for acting in such a manner—she scared the crap out of me, and I was sitting in my living room—so I can imagine the fear building in the lines person. However, Venus should not have to suffer for her sister's outburst, as many suggest not allowing the sisters to play in the doubles final.

    Additionally, the USTA should be accountable as well. They should have reviewed the video and reversed the foot fault call, as it was clear Serena was not guilty of this error, at which point the score would have been 15 – 30, with Serena having the opportunity to finish out her service game.

    The USTA dedicated a 30 minute commercial to talk about how advanced IBM technology has improved the sport of tennis. They should have used this advanced technology to defuse the situation.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  69. Lorenzo Nuby

    Serena....acted out of emotions but she was wrong for displaying bad behavior..There were a few tough calls but but she needed to dispute those calls more respectful. ..After analyzing the tape she also need to visualize what she done and ackowledge she was wrong...An apology will be nice to her fans and the tennis community..Serena is an flawless player but here approach was depressing...

    September 14, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  70. Freedom

    l don't think Serena did not crossed the line because that call was a wrong a call and she knew it was NOT going to be called back..
    When we are wrongfully accused of something and you know it can not be taking back, you react with anger because it is the greatest pain anyone can ever push on you.
    what US open need to do is come up with a system that can reverse such calls if they are wrong calls, just like they are doing with the IBM replay already. so l blame the US open current unfair system.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  71. Mike Armstrong TX.

    This is kinda like Jannet Jackson when she had her wardrobe malfunction Serena had a mouth malfunction.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  72. Roger Heisen

    The DNA from this African player came to play harder that the rules of the game itself.
    Civility was overruled by the law of the jungle.
    What it proves is that you can dress a monkey with silk but is still a monkey (no reference is made to the fact that monkey are similar to some humans)

    September 14, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  73. Joe

    Plain and simple, Serena used threatening language and threatening gestures! Even John McEnroe didn't use threatening language. John may have argued that someone was blind or stupid which is an attack on their character, but not threatening and John was fined many times for his outbursts.

    What is lost in the story and most troubling is that these temper tantrums weren't "dealt" with when these players were juniors (when these problems first developed). We (society) need to give out more "consequences" for such disrespectful behavior.

    I'm a little embarrassed (as an American) when these displays are on ANY "center court". What does the world think of us when we can't seem to show respect for our authorities. Serena and Joe Wilson BOTH need to make sincere apologies WITHOUT ANY EXCUSES or their "reasoning" for inappropriate behavior.

    What reasoning is there for outbursts with established authorities? Just say you're sorry and MEAN IT! Take your lumps. You want to have an outburst, it's going to cost you!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  74. Eric from Ft. Lauderdale

    Tony,
    She is justified in getting angry but must bottle her comments. Life wrots sometimes and in particular when it comes to sports. Yes a lot rides on victories, monies, prestige, notoriety, but that should never take a front seat to you the person and your integrity. My view of her was not the best to begin with as a Tennis player myself and now its in the dumps. She is a SPOILED BRAT and a $10K fine is a slap on the wrist...chomp change penalty for her. If the USTA officials do this right they will massively increase the fine and sanction her in someway. What an example for our kids....threaten, verbally abuse, and act like a real XXtch. Athletes need to rise above this and in the process appreciate what they have. They are not above anyone and her attitude reflects her lack of maturity both in personal and much more professional life. In my eyes she does not deserve to be called a champion or role model, but instead an immature child.

    September 14, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  75. stanley bair

    Serena was a disgrace to the sport of tennis when she threw her tantrum. She showed she has no respect for the game, the officials, the players or the venue. She actually giggled about it during a later interview. She should be suspended for at least 6 months!

    September 14, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  76. Jean

    There is a problem with some people that they cannot carry-on a conversation, discussion or an argument without utilizing swear words. They are of the assumption that it is the 21st century word which should be used and that it is acceptable to use swear language. They are so wrong.
    Another case is Serena Williams who could not contain her disappointment and utilized swear language which also cost her, as I heard, $10,000.
    I spoke with a friend who is a fan of the Williams and stated that, these are the types of people whom others idolize. They should set the example and they do not. I also spoke of those so-called Hollywood celebrities and the movies which are made which contain swear language. This is another reason I do not view such movies and violent ones. I hear and read enough of these through the Media and as I also go about my business in public and that is enough for me. I do not recommend them to no one.
    It appears that swearing is in their blood. If people were well-brought I do not think that they would use swear language. It may be too that they associate with those who utilize such unbecoming language and learned it from them. This type of language also appears through the mouths of some people in the Media in certain programs, in the writings of some viewers to the Media, no exception to those who teach and preach The Word and Teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ as contained in Holy Scriptures.
    This reminds me what Our Lord said: "...So by their fruits you will know them." This pertains to the lifestyle they live and the language that they use.
    Finally, it was unbecoming of Serena to utilize such swear and shocking language. If the entire world was viewing it as the USA and Canada, it was, no doubt, shocking to her fans. among them, no doubt were viewers who are youths.
    Tony, I do not think much of people who utilize swear language. They better not let me hear them use such language. If such a language was directed at me and I was in a certain place at that time, I would speak to the person in no uncertain way and also inform them wash their mouths with "Blessed Holy Water".
    I do not idolize them and place them on a pedestal no matter what their status and how popular, well-known they are and how much money they earn and what possessions they have. These are not people whom I would like to associate with. Christians are warned about associating with such people who are not good examples. We are told, however, to pray for them that God may mellow them and their language. It is not OK to utilize swear langauge. It depicts one who has no respect for themselves and for others. A person is judged by their overall attitude and language.

    September 14, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  77. Linda

    Hi Tony,

    In any other sport with conduct like that they would be kicked out of a game. Outside of a sport they would be arrested. She went way over the line. Children were watching & many of them look up to her. There was no regret no apology and I can't believe they are letting her play doubles. I think it is bad for the sport of tennis. What are they afraid of ... to offend Serena. She is a spoiled brat and has gotten away with her behavior. This is bad for tennis.

    September 14, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  78. Thomas White

    Tony, while very unforunate that such an outburst occured during a national televised match, we shouldn't be surprised about it because this has happen many times in the past by great atheletes. In particular the tennis world. With out calling any names I sure the world could give many examples of this behavior. One person most famous for actions of this nature is a commentator for the tennis world and the U. S. Open. So let"s not be over critical about Serena. Another thing that was quite strange was the fact that Serena and Venus both were penilized for foot faults during critical times during their matches in the U. S. Open. Coincidental or something put in place be someone to upstage two athelentes that have put tennis back on the map?

    September 14, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  79. Gary of California

    Serena did cross the line. She called the line judge a "gook". Sounds to me like she needs some sensitivity training. If it had happened to a black woman and the player was white....whoa. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would be tripping over themselves to get involved and point the finger. Who knows President Obama might even comment on it.

    September 14, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  80. sandy

    Difference is she directed her degrading remarks directly at the judge. And it is WHAT she said that made all the difference. Personal threats to the judge.

    September 14, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  81. Willy

    Serina's outburst reminds me of the days of John McEnroe. I have always enjoyed watching him for his intensity as well as his constant outbursts when he thought there was a bad call or just frustrated about his game. Serena's behavior is obviously overblown by the media. She may have crossed the line with her choice of words; however there should be no double-standard to the rules, fines or coverage.

    Will Gedeon

    September 14, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  82. ken

    The fact that mcenroe yelled or the call was bad makes no difference. She was out of line. The fine was justified and she shoulld also be suspended the same number of upcoming matches as the number of "f" words she used. She makes millions and she is a part owner of the miami dolphins but yet she is still angry. What arrogance.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  83. Matt, Washington DC

    What? CNN finally got it right? Yesterday all of your "expert" guests and some on this very blog were so critical of Serena with comments like, "She should be banned for 5 years. She should be banned for life!" Really? Like Andre Agassi and John McEnroe? And, "This is unprecedented.. outrageous... McEnroe NEVER behaved like this."
    LOL – WRONG AGAIN!!!

    Not soon after McEnroe became one of the most queried strings on YouTube. What did you think – people weren't going to go an look? People need to stop fanning embers into infernos based on nebulous rhetoric and personal prejudices. Fact is they all were (UNEQUIVOCALLY) wrong – Serena, The Official and McEnroe. The more light that shines on an entertainer the more criticism they will get. This is why every year MTV stages a controversial event at the VMAs becacuse people are so GULLIBLE. And, YES there is a double standard. Don't think so? Fighting would be banned tomorrow if a Hockey team had all African American or Latino American players. I've seen Soccer Players, Hockey Players, Basketball and even (I can take a nap in left field during the game) Baseball Players CLEAR THE BENCH in and ALL OUT BRAWL. Have you seen the outburst by Tiger Woods lately (at himself)? Michael Jordan was notorious for being in the face of officials over his career, but that lead to him and the high profile athletes that followed him being able to get away with much more.

    We Still Love you Serena... If GOD can forgive you, so can I. You apologized today, accepted your fine and moved on. So should we. Now go defend your titles, represent the USA and continue making your millions while pissing off the envious intolerant racist minority. (if that statement offends you, maybe you should take a long look in the mirror)

    September 14, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  84. jackie of LA

    OMG get over it John Macenroe has been treating the so call gentle world of tennis to his tirade for years and he has been rewarded for it by receiving a JOB as a commentator .Serena loses her cool ONE time and some idiots want her to beg for forgiveness give me a break for those of you who still dont realize it or refuse to accept it cheating goes on in the game of tennis. A person can only take so much It seems so obvious that the Williams sisters were the only ones called for foot faults I wonder why , If I were Serena I wouldnt say another word about this incident because she was not the first tennis player to lose her cool nor will she be the last so what , she was wrong so was the linesperson It has already cost Serena the match and that is enough

    September 14, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  85. Qwiick from Tampa FL

    The MOST important point is that she crossed the line "AFTER" the line judge crossed the line! It is illegal to make bad calls to try and sway an athletic contest in favor of one player over the other. So, the real question is "what ffines will the US Open levy against the line judge?"

    September 14, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  86. John

    With the recent coverage of gender testing for a female track athlete to determine what her/his testosterone hormone ratio to estrogen (female is 1:1) truly is, it's time for the Tennis Association to have a similar gender test performed on Serena Williams to determine what her testosterone hormone ratio levels truly are.

    Serena William's legs are as large as tree trunks and her recent outburst at the US Open semi final tennis match strongly suggests a much higher level of testosterone than permitted in a female gender with a 1:1 hormone ratio of testosterone to estrogen.

    Professional women tennis players around the world have complained about this problem for several years, isn't it time the public take notice and for the Tennis Association to take action?

    Women with a much higher ratio of the hormone testosterone in their body's have the same advantage that another athlete would enjoy on anabolic steroids.

    I feel there would be a world wide interest in this story.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  87. De

    Yes, Serena was a bit out of line, but she was fined and penalized for her actions, so it seems to me that the message this sends to everyone is that it's alright for you to scream and interrupt the president of the US and nothing but an appology is given, but don't scream or verbally abuse a line judge. This is so unfair and disrespectful to our president (whether we like him or not) and Serena also. If she has to be punished, so should he (more severely), and he should also have been removed from the meeting, WHAT WILL SOMEONE SHOUT OUT NEXT?
    DE

    September 14, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  88. suve

    every action has a consequence,good or bad. but punishement must fit the crime. even if she is upset there is proper ways to express emotion.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  89. vivian

    Why are there so many HATERS? Have any of you been under that kind of pressure in your life. I doubt it. But, it sure was refreshing to hear someone intelligent enough to get it right.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  90. Michelle

    For those of you defending Serena, I understand how frustrated she must've felt, and I probably would've defended her "Joe Wilson moment" to pointing the racket and yelling at the ref. I could even possibly let the "f" bombs go. But to repeatedly say you're going to shove a ball down someone's throat, while you're pointing in an aggessive way, with aggressive body language ? And then to be given one more chance to show remorse but to deny it instead?? This to me not only reveals her questionable character but the questionable character of those of you defending it. Oh, and you people need to get off the "he or she's black" excuse. There are a whole lot of white people who pushed to help get Obama elected who are tired of hearing that crap.

    September 14, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  91. Vanessa

    I was shock and in aw!!!! this young lady has held her on for years. some say she should loss sponors, not. this line lady , seem to felt threaten afterwards and running. wow!! she had this game in the bag, and the lady and man walk out after the line lady runs. this should have stop when the bad call came they should have been in place. they've been through this before. I just think how many times did she really wanted to say something like that and , it may have felt good but now it will always hurt her.these gilrs are strong black women and alwyas will be a role model regardless. ahe will rise above all of this. GREAT PEOPLE ALWAYS DO.

    September 15, 2009 at 2:10 am |
  92. Hemmy

    I think Sarena's behavior was unacceptable. She should be Suspended

    September 15, 2009 at 4:08 am |
  93. Angie

    Yesterday a male tennis player got very angry, verbal and swore, does anyone remember his name? Today a male tennis player was heard swearing and complaining about his opponents time out, do you know his name?
    Do we have a different standard for Women athlets than what exists for male athlets?
    Why do we except the 'Bad Boy' attitude and then around and destroy any female athlets who act the same?
    I am not saying it is okay. The behavior is wrong and punishment should be given.
    But punnishment WAS GIVEN, so why do we continue to feather tar the
    women athlets long after they were pennalized, punnished, and long after they even appologized twice?
    And why do men on these boards want to destroy a female's future for daring to be human, When the same men posters defend their male athlets who have behaved just as bad?

    September 15, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  94. alamorob

    Yes agree with President Carter statements. I further believe the right should not be hiding behind the health care issue.

    September 16, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  95. Steve in Austin

    NO! Foot fault, most likely; but she didn't cross the line. I think the comments need to be posted because the line judge said that the player said she would "kill" her, but she says she never made that comment. So we should know what happened.

    September 16, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  96. Iris Gladden

    Serena Williams' outburst at the US Open was disgraceful. It is one thing to become angry about an erroneous call made by someone who was performing her job but to attack the person using the language Serena used in front of the world (more importantly God, her parents & especially children) is unbelievable. The erroneous call should have been challenged using the referee and/or the replay option.

    September 16, 2009 at 6:02 pm |