Earlier today, some of us woke to news that tennis player Serena Williams was named Sportsperson of the Year 2015 by Sports Illustrated – one of America’s biggest sports magazines. Not only was she the first woman in over 30 years to win such an achievement, she is the first woman of colour to be ever graced with this honour. However, as expected there was an outcry amongst her critics who have clearly been stung by the successful year she has had so far. I read some of the articles and reactions on Twitter in regards to this earlier today and what had really made me chuckle is that people thought American Pharaoh was more deserving of gracing the cover than Serena. Now for those on on the other side of the Atlantic who are unaware as to who the American Pharaoh is…it’s a horse. Yes I said, a horse. People actually believe that an animal was more deserving of the SportsPERSON of the Year award than an actual human being.
Very disappointed to see Sport’s Illustrated editors ignored the fans vote, and chose Serena Williams over American Pharoah – Article coming
— Brian Zipse (@Zipseatthetrack) December 14, 2015
Now for those who are thinking what is the world coming to? I seriously do not know anymore.
Sorry, American Pharoah fans. Serena Williams wins @SInow Sportsperson of the year. Remember, he’s not a person. He’s a horse.
— Mark Singelais (@MarkSingelais) December 14, 2015
That is besides the point because the situation is much deeper than who should be sitting in that throne, my issue is despite Serena possibly having one of best years of her entire career why does the media and critics alike continue to find ways to bash her? For example, when she beat Maria Sharapova for the umpteenth time and went on to win this year’s Wimbledon trophy – completing her second Serena slam – why, instead of hearing and seeing hands of praise and congratulations many highlighted the racial pay discrepancies between the two as a way of humbling Serena.
Serena has worked hard to get to the position of where she is now and achieved even more than her rivals combined but yet she is still subject to to deplorable body shaming comments, racist and sexist remarks. Though she has managed to maintain professionalism throughout most of her career and stay on top of her game, I’m sure it must take a toil on her emotional health to go through this continuously from such an early age.
Only a black woman could achieve a 53-3 record in a calendar year at the highest level of sports and have her greatness doubted. #Serena
— Charles Clymer (@cmclymer) December 14, 2015
Instead of focusing on how she is built or how much she earns maybe we should all acknowledge that Serena Williams is not only one of the greatest tennis players of our generation, if not of all time but also one of the biggest influences on people of colour who thoroughly deserves every accolade that has come her way. Her success doesn’t need acknowledgement by writers of the Los Angeles Times or New York Times but it also doesn’t need to be tarnished and overwritten as if to say her career isn’t worthy in contrast to a non African-American.
Oh congratulations Serena, shall your career continue to prosper next year.