Even een stukje karaktermoord

Geplaatst: 20 juni 2013 in Randzaken

Ik denk dat uit een aantal van mijn eerdere posts al wel is gebleken dat ik geen fan ben van Serena Williams. Maar eigenlijk is het nog erger: ik heb gewoon een hekel aan Serena Williams. Er zijn heel veel redenen om een hekel te hebben aan Serena Williams, en daarvan zal ik er nu een paar geven.

De aanleiding tot deze post was de ophef die is ontstaan over een artikel over Serena in het tijdschrift Rolling Stone. In dit artikel geeft Serena haar mening over een geruchtmakende verkrachtingszaak. Hier een stukje uit het artikel:

We watch the news for a while, and the infamous Steubenville rape case flashes on the TV – two high school football players raped a drunk 16-year-old, while other students watched and texted details of the crime. Serena just shakes her head.

“Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously, I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”

Nu ik het nog een keer teruglees kan ik gewoon niet bevatten hoe iemand zo kan denken over zo’n zaak. Nou ja, meer hoef ik er denk ik niet over te zeggen…

Maar het wordt nog interessanter, en nog hypocriet ook. Na alle ophef die ontstaat over de opmerkingen plaatst ze het volgende bericht op haar website:

What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened. For someone to be raped, and at only sixteen, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved – that of the rape victim and of the accused. I am currently reaching out to the girl’s family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written – what I supposedly said – is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.

I have fought all of my career for women’s equality, women’s equal rights, respect in their fields – anything I could do to support women I have done. My prayers and support always goes out to the rape victim. In this case, most especially, to an innocent sixteen year old child.

Ze schrijft “What was written – what I supposedly said […]”. Ze geeft dus niet toe dat ze die dingen gezegd heeft, en  insinueert dat ze het niet echt gezegd heeft, maar ze ontkent ook niet dat ze het gezegd heeft. Ze kan het ook niet ontkennen, want de journalist heeft dit gesprek opgenomen. De rest van het bericht is vrijwel het tegenovergestelde van de mening die ze aan de journalist van Rolling Stone verkondigde. Dat noem ik dus hypocriet. Bovendien heeft ze het over “the accused” waarmee ze de daders bedoelt. Ik schrijf “daders”, want de jongens zijn al berecht en veroordeeld, maar Serena noemt ze nog steeds “verdachten”.

Ik denk dat Sloane Stephens niet geheel ongelukkig is met deze ophef. Die werd namelijk begin van het jaar door veel journalisten afgekraakt omdat ze iets vervelends zei over Serena. Stephens probeerde aan een journalist uit te leggen dat Serena helemaal niet zo aardig is als ze soms lijkt, en vertelde wat er was gebeurd nadat ze Serena had verslagen op de Australian Open:

“She’s not said one word to me, not spoken to me, not said hi, not looked my way, not been in the same room with me since I played her in Australia,” Stephens says emphatically. “And that should tell everyone something, how she went from saying all these nice things about me to unfollowing me on Twitter.”

Her mom tries to slow her down, but Sloane is insistent. “Like, seriously! People should know. They think she’s so friendly and she’s so this and she’s so that — no, that’s not reality! You don’t unfollow someone on Twitter, delete them off of BlackBerry Messenger. I mean, what for? Why?”

En we gaan nog even door. In zijn wekelijkse column behandelt Jon Wertheim op SI.com altijd mails van lezers, en hij zet daar ook verhalen in van lezers die tennissers hebben ontmoet buiten de baan. Dat zijn bijna altijd positieve verhalen, totdat iemand hem mailde over een ontmoeting met Serena:

I was scheduled to fly home to L.A. late that Sunday afternoon. I had a 6 p.m. flight and was dropped off at the airport very early, so I had a lot of time to kill. Standing in line for a cup of coffee, I knew I recognized the person standing in front of me, but couldn’t place him. Finally, it dawned on me, it was Serena’s hitting partner, Sasha. I knew instantly that if he were there, Serena must be in the terminal as well, so I watched to see where he went, and, sure enough, there was Serena in a seat near the gate to the same flight I was to fly on.

You have to understand that the terminal was practically empty. Hardly anyone was around. Serena was looking at emails on her phone, Sasha just sat in silence, and Richard Williams and his girlfriend were sitting a little further down the row of seats — they were all silent. I usually hate bothering people for autographs, but Serena is a legend, she was not on the phone or talking to anyone or eating anything, and it just seemed like a completely acceptable time to ask her to sign something. I nervously went up to her, and I congratulated her on that day’s win, told her I was there to see her win, and asked her if she wouldn’t mind signing the tournament program I had in my hand. I was a polite as I could possibly be.

I cannot begin to describe you the look that Serena then gave me. First, she appeared genuinely surprised that someone would approach her. Then, the look of utter agitation came over her face. It was obvious that she was not pleased, to say the least. She begrudgingly took my pen and signed her name, nothing else. She signed very slowly, and it was an incredibly awkward and uncomfortable time. When she finished, I didn’t know what else to say or do, so I uttered, “Good luck with the rest of the summer and I look forward to watching you at the Open.” She uttered a very cold and insincere “Thank you,” and turned back to her emails.

I can’t begin to describe how awful the interaction was. She was not doing anything but sitting and waiting for a flight, I was polite and respectful to her, but she responded to me in a completely condescending manner — one that made me feel just completely embarrassed and extremely uncomfortable. She is a legendary tennis player, and I would imagine she would have similar encounters with fans each and every day. I can only hope that this is not an example of how she responds to them every time.

Tenslotte wil ik nog even afsluiten met dit:


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