Friday, August 12, 2005

Message for Pam Shriver

In the words of America's best-known unsportsman-like thug: Shut up, shut up, shut up!

When Shriver talks about tennis, she is one of the best--if not the best--commentator for the game. But when she goes off into other subjects, she can be really offensive. Whether she's insulting Claudine Schaul because the poor woman asked to have her name pronounced correctly, turning in a player for a time violation, or making sexist remarks, Shriver tends to make an ass of herself.

Today, during the JPMorgan Chase Open quarterfinal match between Kim Clijsters and Nadia Petrova, some children in the stands were screaming during play. Petrova, who had just hit a major winner, asked the umpire to ask them to be quiet. Shriver immediately went into a diatribe about how silly it was, right after you'd scored a winner, to start complaining. I can only imagine what she would have said if Petrova had complained right after she'd made an unforced error.

While it is true that Petrova is a temperamental player, her anger is almost always directed toward herself. Her sportswomanship is solid. Shriver's complaint was not only uncalled for, it reflected an American trend: To ask to have the rules enforced is "weak." In our culture, only losers seek justice through rules.

A few years ago, some players were seriously physically abused at the New Orleans Saints training camp in Wisconsin. They were too frightened to come forward, and no charges were ever filed against the perpetrators. When men are involved, it is especially deadly to turn in a perpetrator (think of all kids who were abused by Bobby Knight), but asking to have rules enforced is unpopular, regardless of gender.

As for Shriver, she needs to stick to talking about points and shots.


I don't have much to comment, just...

"Her sportswomanship is solid."

This is great.

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