He might have been at fault, but the punishment was over the line.
Tennis has never been much of a sport for the common folks, and U.S. Open officials took the perception of snootiness to a new level this weekend when one of the world’s finest tennis players netted a $10,000 fine for pretending his racket was a rifle after a disputed call on the court.
And the worst part was, player Mike Bryan was right and the line judge was wrong.
According to The New York Times, the dispute came during the second set Sunday when Bryan was playing with his brother, Bob, against Frederico Delbonis and Roberto Carballes.
A shot from Delbonis was called in, but Bryan insisted it was out. After a video review showed the shot was clearly out by half an inch, according to The Times, Bryan raised his racket to his shoulder and pointed the end of the handle at the line judge.
He then pointed his finger at both the chair umpire and the line judge, while shaking his head.
— doublefault28 (@doublefault28) September 1, 2019
And promptly got slapped with a fine.
According to The Times, it was the largest fine for a men’s player this year. Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro was fined $40,000 last week for retiring after losing the first set of a match Tuesday, according to People. Navarro cited a lower-back injury as the reason for her withdrawal.
New York’s U.S. Open has a reputation for being one of the more raucous events in the tennis circuit (not quite the strawberries-and-cream Wimbledon crowd), but Bryan’s utterly harmless playacting was clearly too much for the sensitive judges.
(MSN’s report made the point that the action came only a day after a mass shooting in Odessa, Texas, which of course made the umpire in New York think the professional athlete he’d just tried to rob of a point was about to turn into a mass murderer before his eyes.)
On social media, there were a surprising number of responses that agreed with the fine (maybe people who never played cops and robbers when they were kids) or even said it was too low.
But there were plenty who saw it for the inanity it was:
Hahahaha, I would pay gladly if I was him. Too funny. Too much idiocy from everyone these days. Too much PC-crap.
— 𝐉𝐮𝐚𝐧 𝐉𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐆𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐳 𝐁. (@jjmiphoto) September 2, 2019
He was using an AR-Wilson. That is an assault racket and needs to be banned.
— Kakarrot (@SonKakarrott) September 2, 2019
Adults should not infer such wild negativity from an obviously harmless gesture, and inflict real world harm ($10k) based on ridiculous associations with something they saw on the news. Squirt guns are ok too. Adults know the difference.
— Curtis Elmore (@counselorcurtis) September 2, 2019
That last one puts it pretty well.
Adults in sports should know the difference between threatening and nonthreatening behavior, and treat actions accordingly.
No one — but no one — seriously thinks there was anything remotely threatening in what Bryan — a wildly successful, accomplished tennis player — did Sunday.
But the lords of tennis got to join the world of virtue-signaling and demonstrate to everyone how they feel about guns, while a host of preening imbeciles on social media got to weigh in to say how much they’re opposed to gauche Americans and their love of guns.
It’s true the gesture might not have been entirely sportsmanlike, but as a punishment, a $10,000 fine is way over the line.
And it’s worth remembering — he was right all the time.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.