Leaders need to show respect and earn it as well. And that’s why Raymond Moore, Indian Wells CEO, must go. His comments went beyond disrespectful, they were degrading, insulting and outright wrong.
Sport simply can’t afford to have offensive and outdated attitudes like that lingering around anymore.
Why? Because it’s 2016 and Moore didn’t just insult female players, he insulted women. And there are a lot of us.
It’s 2016 and Moore didn’t just insult female players, he insulted women. And there are a lot of us.
In case you missed it, Moore caused worldwide outrage when he told reporters.
“in my next life, when I come back, I want to be someone in the WTA because they ride on the coattails of the men…They don’t make any decisions, and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky.”
“If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born because they have carried this sport. They really have.”
“They (WTA) have a lot of very attractive players. And the standard in ladies’ tennis has improved unbelievably.”
He was then asked if he meant clarify whether he was referring to their physical attractiveness…
“I mean both. They are physically attractive and competitively attractive.”
Leaders set the tone for what’s acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in their industries. Attitudes from the top often filter down to all levels of governance. To have someone like Moore, in his position of authority, boldly make such degrading insults to women, is frighteningly dangerous.
He made these statements in a room of cameras, microphones and journalists and said them with such confidence, it can only be assumed he thought nothing wrong in doing so.
In his eyes he was stating what he thought every one else knew. That women are inferior.
Reducing a female players achievements to her physical attractiveness. As well as ignoring all the incredible developments made by female sporting pioneers like Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Margaret Court, Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova and Serena Williams by saying the success of the women’s game is due to the men, is a dangerous attitude for anyone in modern society to have, let alone the head of a prestigious tournament like the Indian Wells.
With comments like this it’s no wonder female tennis players broke away and formed their own governing body back in 1973 and ironically both women’s and men’s tennis wouldn’t be where they are today if not for the actions of WTA founder Billy Jean King all those years ago.
The WTA put women’s tennis on the map, they formed tournaments and circuits for women when male organisers wouldn’t, signed sponsors and television deals independent to the men’s and worked tirelessly to ensure equal prize money at all tournaments.
The WTA isn’t riding on men’s coattails, it was formed so it wouldn’t have to be dragged along by those coattails anymore.
Women may be little play things on the court to you Raymond, where the easier they are on the eye, the better the match in yours. Women may just be a box you have to tick on your “diversity” checklist Raymond, but they’re so much more than that to 50% of the population. Most of us would rather watch a female match over a men’s any day. We are inspired, empowered and enriched from seeing those girls do extraordinary things on the court, to watch them push themselves to new levels and to witness them achieving their goals.
Those women don’t ride on anyone’s coat tails, but as a woman who represents 50% of the population, I proudly ride on their coattails. I would even get on my knees and thank them for providing entertainment and inspiration every match.
If you fail to see that Raymond, well, then it’s time to go.
You didn’t just insult and degrade the Women’s Tennis Association, you insulted women.