Billie Jean King thanks Serena Williams for calling out sexism

Serena Williams (R) talks with referee Brian Earley during the women’s final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament against Naomi Osaka Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

The reactions to Serena Williams’ meltdown during the U.S. Open finals are continuing to roll in.

Tennis legend and feminist icon Billie Jean King added her take late Saturday night.

King first started by saying that she believed coaching should be allowed during a match. But because it’s currently not allowed, players could get penalized for their coach’s actions, which she believes isn’t right either.

Williams was penalized for illegal on-court coaching after her coach Patrick Mouratoglou was signaling at the 23-time Grand Slam champion to move up to net more often.

Although Williams said she did not see the coaching and denied that it happened, after the match Mouratoglou admitted he was doing so. On-court coaching is rarely called or enforced but is a rule nonetheless.

King also thanked Williams for calling out the double standard on male and female competitors.

Williams believed she was unfairly penalized for calling the chair umpire Carlos Ramos a thief and saying that he would never work another one of her matches ever again.

She believed that the violation about on-court coaching implied that she was a cheater and wanted Ramos to rescind the first violation.

When he wouldn’t, she continued berating him from her chair and calling for the referees to come onto the court.

While pleading her case with U.S. Open officials, Williams said that male competitors frequently said worse, sometimes using expletives, without losing a point or a game. Williams lost a point because it was her second code violation – she received it for racket abuse – and then a game because it was her third.

She did not lose a point for her first warning.

Even after she lost the match, she demanded an apology from Ramos again as she went up to shake his hand.

In her news conference, she backed up her outburst, saying that it was a double standard. She also said that although she was punished tonight, her actions would make it more acceptable for athletes in the future to show their emotion and be held to the same standard regardless of their gender.

Other athletes on Twitter have agreed with King and said that it was an unnecessary violation for verbal abuse that cost Wiliams a game late in the second set.

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