Posts Tagged ‘Althea Gibson’

Venus Williams is not just a champion tennis player, she’s a #civilrights advocate.

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

(Sports Illustrated) She didn’t have a ball or racket in hand, wasn’t even near a tennis court, so it took a moment to recognize that one of the most important figures in the history of American sports had changed her game. Because Venus Williams, tennis player, wasn’t talking about dogs or fashion; Venus Williams wasn’t responding to the latest nonsense about her sister’s foot or her father’s mouth. No, she was talking about race now, about fighting hatred, about doing right when the easy choice is to do nothing. We’ve grown too used to the rich and famous using their clout only to sell products. You had to look around the room, and remember, to see that a long-ago promise was being realized at last.

“Just because of my history, too, as the African-American,” Williams said Sunday, recalling why she decided, last year, to publicly chastise the United Arab Emirates — during the trophy ceremony in Dubai — for barring Israeli player Shahar Peer from their tournament. “My parents both came from the South in the ’40s and ’50s and just — you know, it was an outrage, really. Just like: Are you serious? Can you really exclude someone? This is professional tennis in 2010. We’re all athletes here. We’re not politicians or anything like that. So really, the feeling inside of me was just one of almost rage and discontent. Like: Is this for real?”

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