In case you missed it, Serena Williams had a highly publicized blowup with chair umpire Carlos Ramos at the U.S. Open. The umpire issued violations for coaching, destruction of a racket, and finally docked Williams an entire game penalty in reaction to her calling him a “thief.”
In the following days, hot takes flew in from every direction. Some accused Ramos of going on a sexist power trip, while others blasted Williams her a classless and embarrassing meltdown. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) released a statement backing Williams, claiming that female players are held to different standards than men when it comes to arguing with umpires.
Other umpires are sick of the criticism, claiming Ramos was well within his rights to enforce the penalties. Now, they are openly discussing boycotting matches played by Williams.
“The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA,” retired Gold Badge umpire Richard Ings said, according to ESPN’s Peter Bodo. “They are all fearful that they could be the next Ramos. They feel that no one has their back when they have to make unpopular calls.”
Additionally, the Times of London quotes an unnamed source saying that Ramos was “thrown to the wolves for simply doing his job and was not willing to be abused for it.” The report also mentions that umpires are considering “to refuse any match assignments involving Williams until she apologizes for vilifying Ramos and calling him a ‘liar’ and a ‘thief.’”
The International Tennis Federation was one of the only governing bodies to publicly support Ramos, issuing a statement that confirmed they were standing behind his decisions.
“Carlos Ramos is one of the most experienced and respected umpires in tennis,” the statement reads. “Mr. Ramos’ decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were re-affirmed by the U.S. Open’s decision to fine Serena Williams for the three offenses.”
Williams was fined $17,000 for her infractions.