Serena Williams may not have another U.S. Open title to add to her trophy case at home.
But the greatest tennis player in women’s history has the support of many celebrities in Hollywood, that’s for certain.
Allow us to explain…
On Saturday evening, Williams fell in the final round of the U.S. Open, losing in two sets to Naomi Osaka.
But the match was very unfortunately marred by three penalties assessed to Serena in that final set by chair umpire Carlos Ramos.
First, he warned Serena about being actively coached by her coach, who was sitting in Williams’ official box in the stands.
Then, he rewarded a point to Osaka after Serena smashed her racquet in frustration.
Finally, he rewarded an entire game to Osaka after Serena told Ramos – while sitting in her seat on the sideline, in between games – that he was a "thief" for taking away the aforementioned point.
This was an unprecendented move by a chair umpire in a Grand Slam Final.
It led to a lot of outrage online.
There were those who believe Serena did NOT deserve such a harsh punishment, along with those who felt terrible on behalf of Osaka, whose first-ever major tournament victory has been overshadowed by this controversy.
And there were those who thought Serena acted inappropriately and immaturely and deserved to be docked that game.
It’s safe to say that cartoon Mark Knight falls into this second camp.
The artist posted to Twitter on Monday a drawing he made that appeared in the Australian newspaper The Herald Sun.
It depicts the 36-year-old tennis star as an angry baby jumping all over her tennis racquet — and it has prompted quite a string of responses by quite a number of celebrities.
“Well done on reducing one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes and turning a second great sportswoman into a faceless prop,” J.K. Rowling Tweeted, for example.
Added actress Cynthia Erivo:
"This reprehensible and racist. It also warps the actual event and misses the point of what actually happened @Knightcartoons.
"You should be ashamed of yourself. Yet another white guy disrespecting a black woman because you still don’t see us as multi dimensional human beings."
It certainly is fair to ask at least one question, no matter where you stand on Serena’s recent actions:
Why is Serena’s opponent in this cartoon white and blonde?
Why has Knight chosen to contrast Williams with someone that comes across thos way?
Osaka is of Haitian and Japanese descent.
It’s therefore difficult to read into Knight’s above depiction as anything but, yes, racist.
"Hey @Knightcartoons just change your name to KKK Cartoons … Racist piece of s—t!” wrote Kathy Griffin.
Considering how often male players smash their racquets and how loudly they berate umpires without repercussion, many supporters of both Serena and humanity in general believe Ramos acted out of a sexist impuluses on Saturday.
“Women are treated differently in most arenas of life,” wrote former tenns champion Billie Jean King in an op-ed in The Washington Post, adding:
“This is especially true for women of color. And what played out on the court yesterday happens far too often.”
We tend to agree.
But even if you don’t, can we all agree that this cartoon is disgusting?