There is an ongoing controversy regarding tennis star Serena Williams and an official because the official acted to stop Serena from making inappropriate outbursts during the game. Since then the official has been accused of sexism, because male tennis players in the past have famously gotten away with worst.

My take is that the official acted appropriately. Any outburst by an adult professional athlete during a tennis match contributes to psyching out the opponent. Since the tennis match is supposed to be determining who is the best tennis player instead of who is the best combination of tennis player and psychological manipulator, the rules prohibit all actions which are psychological manipulation rather than tennis playing. Thus, the official was acting in defense of the other player, and acting to insure that the tennis match was in fact deciding who was the best tennis player.

So what about the past lax enforcement? Well, the governing body needs to commit to its policy and act to insure that all of its officials adhere to it, and the history of lax enforcement followed by seemingly targeted enforcement raises real issues about the integrity of that organization.

The proper way to handle these sorts of things is to announce an intention to alter enforcement policies before hand.  Anything else is suspect.

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