Serena Williams Controversy

Serena Williams lost the U.S. Open women’s final tennis match and criticized umpire Carlos Ramos. A Washington Post article delves into “whether sexism, conscious or not, skews the playing field.”

The writer offers the following evidence:

  • Ramos still has support from the International Tennis Federation.

  • London Telegraph published data showing that, for the past 20 years, men received code violation fines almost three times as often as women. The writer acknowledges that men’s games are longer, but she says this doesn’t account for the entire difference.

  • An Australian newspaper criticized for what some consider a racist image of Williams boldly republished it on the cover with the headline, “Welcome to the PC World.”

The writer offers more evidence on both sides of the issue and suggests changes within the association.

Williams image source.


  • Read more about the situation if you are unfamiliar. What could Williams and Ramos each have done differently?

  • What’s your view overall? Was Williams treated unfairly? Did she react appropriately?

  • How do you assess Williams’ response after the incident? How well did she recover from the so-called “outburst”?

  • What leadership character dimensions are illustrated by this situation?