Commentary Magazine


Taking a Bow for Dubai Double-standard

In today’s New York Times, columnist Harvey Araton is still falling over himself to discuss the “courage” of black women tennis players who competed in a Dubai tournament from which a Jewish Israeli was banned.

Before the tournament, when it was clear that Shahar Peer would not be allowed into the country but that the other players would still play, Araton praised Venus Williams for expressing her support for Peer  — even though she wasn’t sufficiently moved to boycott the event. As it turns out, Williams won the tournament and then told the crowd in Dubai it was “a shame that one of our players couldn’t be here,” though she didn’t mention Peer by name. That was nice but, as I wrote previously, she doesn’t deserve any medals for playing in a draw that excluded a fellow player on the basis of nationality or religion. Araton does ask Venus if it would have been better not to have shown up in Dubai. She answered, “It didn’t happen in a way that a boycott was possible” without explanation.

Interestingly, Williams and her sister Serena are not averse to boycotting other tournaments. In fact, in the same interview with Araton, Venus confirmed that the Williams family will continue their boycott of the tournament at Indian Wells, California because some of the fans there allegedly hurled racial insults at them in 2001.