Double Standard in Tennis or Cultural Norm?

Double Standard in Tennis or Cultural Norm?

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Here’s one more tennis story for you. At the U.S. Open, Alize Cornet was about to resume her match in the 3rd set and looked down to realize that her shirt was on backwards. She turned away from the cameras and discretely took off her shirt to put it on correctly. The chair umpire issued a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct. Because this was her first violation of the match, her penalty was a warning, not a point or a game. The changing of the shirt took about 10 seconds. She had a sports bra on so her breasts were not exposed. Cornet argued the violation, but was told by the umpire that women cannot change their shirts in view of the public. To be clear, the U.S. Open issued an apology within 24 hours, “All players can change their shirt while sitting in the player chair. This is not a code violation. We regret that a code violation was issued to Ms. Cornet yesterday. We have clarified the policy to ensure this will not happen again.”

Joe’s Perspective: When you watch women’s beach volleyball, these women are wearing bikinis. These athletes are consistently wearing much less clothing than Cornet was for 10 seconds. Clearly, this is not a big deal. The men are allowed to take off their shirts and/or change them at various breaks during a match. They sit for several minutes without a shirt to cool down. Women, generally speaking, leave the court to change shirts. This is actually what Cornet did, but she put her shirt on backwards. Not wanting to waste time, she took a few seconds to remedy the situation. Most reasonable people feel this should not have warranted a code violation. It’s easy to see that this is a sexist rule and a double standard. It also seems fair that a woman should be able to stay on the court to change shirts, specifically in extreme heat situations like they had at this year’s U.S. Open.  My only question is what happens if a women’s sports bra is soaked in sweat and she also changes that court side. It will be interesting to see if tennis remains consistent on this new policy or if that becomes a code violation.

Your Turn: As always, please keep your comments clean and mature. Do you think Ms. Cornet should have received a code violation for taking off her shirt? Do you agree with the new policy?

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