Debate over sexism takes the spotlight after Serena Williams' US Open loss

As both champion Naomi Osaka and runner-up Serena Williams stood with tears streaming down their faces at the end of the women's U.S. Open final on Saturday, boos rang out from the crowd, where many felt that a chair umpire's call had marred the match.

The reactions came after chair umpire Carlos Ramos gave Williams a warning for allegedly receiving coaching and later a point penalty over her smashing a racket. Williams then accused Ramos of stealing the point from her, calling him a "thief," resulting a whole game penalty for verbal abuse.

On Sunday, the three code violations resulted in the tournament referee's office fining Williams a total of $17,000.

The penalties — and whether they were justified — sparked debate over whether women in the sport face a double standard.

RELATED: Serena Williams argues with chair umpire at US Open finals

9 PHOTOS
Serena Williams argues with chair umpire at US Open finals
See Gallery
Serena Williams argues with chair umpire at US Open finals
Sep 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Serena Williams of the United States yells at chair umpire Carlos Ramos in the women's final against Naomi Osaka of Japan on day thirteen of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SPORTS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sept 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Serena Williams of the USA argues with tournament referee Brian Earley while playing Naomi Osaka of Japan in the women?s final on day thirteen of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; (L-R) Naomi Osaka of Japan, Serena Williams of the United States, and chair umpire Carlos Ramos talk after Ramos charges Williams with a game penalty in the second set in the women's final on day thirteen of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SPORTS
Sep 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; (L-R) Naomi Osaka of Japan, chair umpire Carlos Ramos, and Serena Williams of the United States during the women's final on day thirteen of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SPORTS
Sept 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Serena Williams of the USA argues with chair umpire Carlos Ramos (not pictured) while playing Naomi Osaka of Japan in the women?s final on day thirteen of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
2018 US Open Tennis Tournament- Day Thirteen. Serena Williams of the United States argues with chair umpire Carlos Ramos during her match against Naomi Osaka of Japan in the Women's Singles Final on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the 2018 US Open Tennis Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8th, 2018 in Flushing, Queens, New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
2018 US Open Tennis Tournament- Day Thirteen. Serena Williams of the United States argues with chair umpire Carlos Ramos after receiving a one game penalty during her match against Naomi Osaka of Japan in the Women's Singles Final on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the 2018 US Open Tennis Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8th, 2018 in Flushing, Queens, New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
2018 US Open Tennis Tournament- Day Thirteen. Serena Williams of the United States argues with chair umpire Carlos Ramos after receiving a one game penalty during her match against Naomi Osaka of Japan in the Women's Singles Final on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the 2018 US Open Tennis Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8th, 2018 in Flushing, Queens, New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
USTA BILLIE JEAN KING NATIONAL T, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2018/09/08: Serena Williams of USA reacts after receiving code violation during women's single final of US Open against Naomi Osaka of Japan at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

After the game, which ended what would have been a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title for Williams, she told officials the calls were sexist.

"There's men out here who do a lot worse," she said. "But because I'm a woman, because I'm a woman, you're going to take this away from me? That is not right and you know it."

Osaka finished with a 6-2, 6-4 victory, making her the first player from Japan to win a Grand Slam singles title. The win also came with jeers, though Williams asked the crowd to stop booing and support Osaka.

Dunja Antunovic, an assistant professor of sports communication who has studied gender in sports, said that this latest incident continues to build on an ongoing dialogue.

"What's new recently in the last couple of years is that there has been a lot of conversation about these instances and the critique of how some of these situations are gendered," Antunovic said.

That view was expressed by many on social media on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Former and current tennis players weighed in on the chair umpire's decision, with some agreeing with Williams' assessment and claiming they've said worse and not been penalized as harshly.

Roddick, a former world No. 1 professional tennis player, also said that he's "regrettably said worse and I've never gotten a game penalty."

Williams coach, meanwhile, said that the umpire had made himself "the star of the show" at the final, usurping the athletes so many had come to watch.

Billie Jean King, a former World No. 1 professional tennis player and namesake of the stadium hosting the U.S. Open, came to Williams' defense as well, stating there is a double standard in how women are depicted and considered in sports — especially when they are outspoken.

Antunovic said that this gendered dichotomy can be seen in the modern American workplace.

"Women are described as emotional and not as tough or prepared to deal with tough matches," she said. "There has been some evidence that the commentary and the way we interpret women's behavior in sports tends to be different than men. That's also how women's behavior is interpreted in the workplace. What's seen as disruptive for a women is seen as leadership for a man."

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.