WVU Volleyball's Blog

Who is fined more for bad behavior? Men or Women?

Posted on: January 23, 2010

Professional athletes have always been held to a higher standard. It doesn’t matter what sport you take part in, you make the higher-ups mad, you will get fined. There have been many instances the past couple of years where athletes have acted out and their behavior is criticized and ultimately fined or suspended. After Serena Williams recent outburst at the US Open and after receiving a fine of over $92,000, the most in professional sport history, it begs the question: Are women judged more harshly than men?

This YouTube video that I posted is the excerpt from the US Open when Serena Williams verbally threatened a line judge after a foot fault was called on her second serve. Her unsportsmanlike behavior resulted in a point for her opponent, Kim Clijsters, which ultimately resulted in Clijsters winning the match. On the spot, Williams was given a fine of $10,000 and in November 2009, she received  an extra fine of $82,500 and put on probation for two years. With famous players like John McEnroe who threw his racket at least once every match, it was a little surprising to me that the authorities that be fined her so much money. I realize that she did say some very harsh words to that women, but there have been many worse situations in basketball games between players and refs. It seems as though the Grand Slam committee wanted to make an example of Williams maybe because she was a more aggressive player and because that behavior is not normally expected from a girl. As expected in most woman’s sporting events, there is  no outward aggression or violence, but in a mens sports, it is always expected and not always penalized.

The second video that I choose to post as contrast to the Williams situation was the 2004 Brawl at the Palace at Auburn Hills between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons. In this video, Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons throws a hard foul on the Pacer’s Ron Artest. Artest initially walks away as Wallace starts to come after him and both benches are emptied to pull the teams apart. The Pacers immediately call a timeout where Artest proceeds to lounge on the scorer’s table waiting for the game to begin again. Suddenly a fan from the crowd throws his cup of beer at Artest which lands squarely on his chest and prompts Artest to run into the crowd and start punching the man. Fellow teammate Stephen Jackson follows him into the crowd and the two teams start going at it again with the coaches getting involved as well. A situation has never happened like this in any previous NBA game and the punishments were harsh. Instead of fining any of the players, NBA commissioner suspended all the players involved at least one game and Artest was suspended the entire season without pay. Although Artest lost $7 million in salary for not playing, I felt as though it was wrong for the NBA to not fine a single player. Even though their course of action was detrimental to the Pacers, in the end, I believe not very many current players learned from this situation. Also, the Pistons organization was not penalized or forced to change any rules regarding alcohol being sold at games.

Recently, Glen “Big Baby” Davis of the Boston Celtics was recently fined $25,000 for yelling obscenities at a fan during the Celtics recent game against the Detroit Pistons. This is not Davis’s first altercation this season. Earlier in the NBA season, Davis fractured his right thumb in an off-court incident which required him to miss the first 27 games and be fined by the Celtics. This recent altercation prompted Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers to say that “Glen Davis has to grow up.” Although Davis was being heckled by the fan for the majority of the game, Davis needed to know not to take him seriously and to brush it off. Athletes need to learn that they need to be mentally stronger than the fans if they want to make it in professional sports.

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