"I've been disrespected by my male colleagues, been the subject of racist remarks" - When Serena Williams opened up about unfair treatment towards her

Serena Williams racism
Serena Williams pictured at a press conference (Image: Getty)

Serena Williams once spoke about the unfair treatment she endured throughout her career, which spanned over two decades. She highlighted instances of disrespect from male counterparts and being targeted with racist comments.

Williams encountered significant racist and sexist remarks during her playing days. In a notable incident in 2001, sports radio commentator Sid Rosenberg said that she and her sister Venus were more likely to pose nude for National Geographic than for Playboy.

In 2006, The National Post ran a column that criticized Serena Williams' weight, focusing on her butt size. During that same year, The Telegraph's Matthew Norman made an offensive comment about the size of her breasts. Three years later, in a Fox Sports column, Jason Whitlock described Williams' physique as "thick, muscled blubber," adding to the controversial list.

One of the most vicious moments came during 2001 Indian Wells when the crowd booed the 23-time Major champion during her match against Kim Clijsters in the final. Her father, Richard, who was there with Venus, later complained about being the victim of racial slurs that day.

Despite all the barriers, the American became one of the greatest players in tennis history and shared her story in a 2017 essay for Fortune magazine on Black Women's Equal Pay Day.

"Growing up, I was told I couldn't accomplish my dreams -because I was a woman and, more so, because of the colour of my skin," Williams wrote.
"In every stage of my life, I've had to learn to stand up for myself and speak out. I have been treated unfairly, I've been disrespected by my male colleagues and - in the most painful times - I've been the subject of racist remarks on and off the tennis court," she added.

Serena Williams shared a powerful message for women: "Be fearless, speak out for equal pay"

Serena Williams
Serena Williams

In the same essay for Fortune magazine, Serena Williams delivered a powerful message to all women, encouraging them to overcome their barriers and break through.

"I am in the rare position to be financially successful beyond my imagination. I had talent, I worked like crazy and I was lucky enough to break through," she wrote.
But today isn't about me. It's about the other 24 million black women in America. If I never picked up a tennis racket, I would be one of them; that is never lost on me," she added.

The 42-year-old continued:

"Be fearless. Speak out for equal pay. Every time you do, you're making it a little easier for a woman behind you. Most of all, know that you're worth it. It can take a long time to realise that."
"It took me a long time to realise it. But we are all worth it. I've long said, 'You have to believe in yourself when no one else does'," she concluded.

Is Serena Williams a Jehovah's Witness? Why American legend doesn't celebrate birthdays or Christmas

Quick Links

Edited by Pritha Ghosh
App download animated image Get the free App now