Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dear Ryan Harrison: There's More to Racism Than Whether or Not Someone Uses the N-Word

Ryan Harrison took to Jon Wertheim's podcast to defend himself in the his ugly dust-up with Donald Young at last week's New York Open. But the problem is I'm not convinced Harrison -- or even some of the people covering the incident -- understands what racism is. Young never said on social media that Ryan used a "slur." (I'm not sure why Harrison, the ATP and the media are using this term -- did Young tell tournament officials something different than what he tweeted?) I wasn't there and I do not know what Young is upset about. And I'm also aware of the fact that there's a "history" between these two. But lecturing a black player on court during a match for how/when he pumps himself up -- when everything I've seen tells me Harrison would never do that to a white peer -- could definitely be perceived as showing how Harrison "really feels" about Young as a "black tennis player." There's a lot more to racism than calling someone a slur. Racism is holding one group of people to a different standard than another -- cutting certain players slack while flying off the handle with others. (You can claim Harrison reacted this way because only Young acts this way, but I watch more than enough tennis to know that many, many players carry on between points.) Here's a way for Harrison to avoid future situations like this: Grow the f**k up. 

From HERE.

P.S. You have NO legal case whatsoever, Ryan. Stop embarrassing yourself with talk of suing for defamation. You sound like Donald Trump, which I hope you understand is not a compliment.


Anonymous said...

tennis matches aren't sunday brunches, in the heat of competition, words can sometimes be exchanged by players, often revealing deeply hidden aspects of their personalities, traits rarely seen in any other context.

it's another reason i appreciate roger federer, and am glad to see him ranked #1 (again).

Jaime M said...

I haven't listened to the podcast, and I probably won't because I'm not a fan of Ryan Harrison (or of Donald Young, either), but if this is the essence of the issue--"But berating a black player for how/when he pumps himself up -- when Harrison would never do that to a white peer"--this is not much different from Sloan Stephens complaining about Serena's "Come on!"'s at their Aussie Open match from a few years ago (although Sloan never said anything directly to Serena about it).

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@Jamie M: But that's very different. Complaining in a press conference -- or even to an umpire -- is not the same as making a spectacle in front of the entire crowd (and world, as a result) by confronting him on the court. We don't have to agree, but I just don't think he would do that to Isner or Querrey or the like.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

P.S. I should reiterate that I DO NOT KNOW what Young is upset about. But I do think what I saw could be perceived as racist.

Anonymous said...

i suspect there may be a backstory that led to the on-court confrontation. if not, it is a baffling and confusing incident, and not good for either player.

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