The Double Standards in Sports
BY JARROD CASTILLO
Imagine being the best athlete in a sport.
Now, picture that scenario without the same respect, recognition, admiration or leeway as male athletes.
Welcome to the double-standard of women in sports.
It was not long ago that tennis champion Serena Williams suffered through a complicated childbirth. According to an interview with Vogue Magazine in February 2018, Williams had to get an emergency C-section after her heart rate dropped during her contractions.
She has a history of blood clots and recalls almost dying after several small blood clots built up in her lungs during the operation. Her wound had also opened up because of a pulmonary embolism. During surgery, doctors found a large hematoma had formed resulting in Williams being bedridden for many months.
When she played tennis again, Nike gave her a specially-crafted black compression bodysuit to help prevent blood clots and promote blood circulation.
“I’ve been wearing pants a lot in general when I play so I can keep the blood circulation going,” she told reporters. “It’s a fun suit, but it’s also functional so I can play without any problems.”
However, French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli wasn’t pleased and said that it’ll “no longer be accepted”, according to the AP. The French Open will be instituting a dress code moving forward.
If that wasn’t egregious enough, French tennis player Alize Cornet was penalized at the US Open for taking off a fresh shirt to fix it after she put it on backwards, which was against Women’s Tennis Association rules. Meanwhile, men were freely allowed to take off their shirts and replace them with no such penalty.
Additionally in the final round of the U.S. Open, Williams lost to Naomi Osaka due to the umpires stating that she attained three violations: smashing her racket, receiving coaching and verbally abusing the officials.
After attempting to refute the calls and calling one of the officials a “thief” for removing a game from her, something the umpire hadn’t done to men, she was heard telling the umpire that, “There are a lot of men out here who have said a lot of things and do not get that punishment. Because I am a woman you are going to take this away from me? That is not right.”
The fact that men have no rules to worry about and can say and do anything they want plays into the notion that men have a specific standard that only they adhere to, not just in tennis but sports as a whole.
For the longest, male athletes have been put up on a pedestal as being “the alpha male” and essentially, being on top of this imaginary food chain allows for some leeway on things.
However, times are changing and we need to change with them.
As men, it’s time to let our “just because we’re men, we’re the Alpha” mindset go. There’s no shame in admitting that women are just as good, if not better, than us in sports.
The sooner we get rid of that toxic mindset, the better off we’ll all be.