- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

You can understand why President Trump may sometimes feel that hostile extraterrestrials already have landed and taken over all but one major TV network and much of what we used to call the “print” media.

No matter what he and his admirers point to as his achievements in office, his detractors say it never happened.

It is a figment of his and his supporters’ imagination. Or it did happen, and it’s bad because it’s motivated by his egocentrism, ethnocentrism, xenophobia and/or racism.

Trump haters act like aliens from outer space who on arriving had their ears filled by Never Trumpers.

Well, tennis great Serena Williams has every reason to feel that way about a troika of extraterrestrial aliens viewable and audible, I discovered, on something called “The Tennis Channel.”

It’s that rare cable channel that doesn’t regularly call for Mr. Trump’s resignation or impeachment. It’s not into politics. It’s into sports.

But in a way that’s as one-sided as CNN, NBC and the others are, at least judging from Sunday night’s performance by the unearthly threesome recounting on Sunday a sanitized version of the Williams incident that had caused an uproar at U.S. Open on Saturday.

The trio never once mentioned the fact that the penalty that chair umpire Carlos Ramos hurled at Ms. Williams was unprecedented for a major tournament, let alone in a championship match.

He nailed her for the same thing men have done for decades without suffering that severe a penalty — and often with no penalty at all. That’s no phony feminist victim whine. It’s fact.

Mr. Ramos awarded Ms. Williams’ opponent a whole game, one that had yet to be played and never was played. The penalty all but assured Ms. Williams would lose her bid to win her 24th grand slam singles match.

It did. Ms. Williams lost. The penalty and the loss can’t be undone.

Mr. Ramos, a veteran of umpiring men’s and women’s tennis majors, managed to ruin the match for the two combatants, Ms. Williams and Naomi Ōsaka, and for the fans watching by smacking Ms. Williams with a code violation. Why? He saw her coach give her hand signals.

Her always excessively delicate ego now bruised, Ms. Williams took loud issue, shouting she is not a cheater, doesn’t want or need coaching during matches and that Mr. Ramos impugned her character.

Later admitting doing what Mr. Ramos said he had done, her coach insisted that all coaches do it. Which is, like it or not, close to the truth — and why chair umpires often ignore the infraction.

Angered all out of proportion to the situation, Ms. Williams, who holds a stunning record of 23 grand-slam championships, went on a tear, lambasting Mr. Ramos loudly, at one point furiously throwing down and breaking her racket, a no-no under the rules. He gave her a code violation. But it was his taking a game away from her score that was the stunner.

Mr. Ramos knew the huge advantage that penalty call gave Miss Ōsaka (she was born in Osaka, Japan, but had lived in the U.S. since childhood, whether you were wondering or not).

In the very next game of the second set, Miss Ōsaka held service, winning the game and with it the set at 6-3 and the whole shebang — the 2018 women’s U.S. Open championship.

Serena typically raises her level of play enough to win when on the verge of defeat. She never got that opportunity Saturday, thanks to Mr. Ramos.

Miss Ōsaka from childhood on has venerated Ms. Williams, cried after the match because of the way she had won it. She sobbed.

Like TV anchors who somehow forget to mention good economic news when bashing Mr. Trump, the three Tennis Channel aliens recounted the incident without once mentioning that the tennis world was and is in an uproar — and hotly divided — over the questionable fairness of the Ramos game penalty.

Famous tennis pros note that practically every male tennis champion and top player has heaped verbal abuse, sometimes using four-letter words and threats, but never, ever got penalized a game in a major tennis tournament.

Rafael Nadal once berated the same chair umpire and said he would never let Mr. Ramos officiate at another Nadal match. No game penalty.

What’s going on here?

Like Kellyanne Conway explaining why Mr. Trump’s foreign policy is not the treason that Democrats, some Republicans and the press insist it is, another tennis great, Billie Jean King, tweeted her answer to what’s going on with Mr. Ramos and his Williams ruling.

“When a woman is emotional, she’s ‘hysterical’ and she’s penalized for it. When a man does the same, he’s ‘outspoken’ and there are no repercussions,” Miss King tweeted.

Yet another tennis giant, Martina Navratilova, on Saturday played the sports world equivalent of some Republicans who grouse that Mr. Trump gets some good things done but not in a properly presidential way.

Miss Navratilova said in effect that Ms. Williams got what she deserved even though she was basically right.

“Had I behaved like that on a tennis court, I would have expected to get everything that happened to Serena,” Miss Navratilova said. ” It should’ve ended right there with the point warning, but Serena just couldn’t let it go.”

Miss Navratilova added: “She completely had the right message about women’s inequality, but it wasn’t the right time to bring it up.”

The women’s inequality claim may have been a bit too much; but if her point was that Mr. Ramos treated Serena differently from male players, Miss Navratilova was on the money.

All this somehow escaped the three male aliens posing as tennis analysts. They apparently landed their whirling alien saucer on earth a mere two seconds before air time.

That is the only way they could sound so impossibly ignorant of the controversy over the fairness of Mr. Ramos’ umpiring (unless of course the Tennis Channel bosses ordered the sanitized approach out of some animus toward Ms. Williams similar to the Democratic leadership’s hate for Mr. Trump).

The three tennis casters could have been any number of network anchors, reporters and leading Democrats plus a few Republicans who ignore Mr. Trump’s achievements as president while regularly convicting him of treason or racism or of being an unindicted co-conspirator.

That’s actually what Sen. Chuck Schumer, other Democrats and at least one anonymous Republican are calling him now.

Mr. Trump and Ms. Williams Williams have their highly visible imperfections but share something else, a seemingly Ramos-like world filled with incontestable penalty givers.

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