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Littlefield: Where Does Serena Williams Go From Here? 01:28
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Serena Williams talks to officials after arguing with a line judge during the U.S. Open. WBUR sports commentator Bill Littlefield says the question now is how Williams will endeavor to rehabilitate her image. (AP)
Serena Williams talks to officials after arguing with a line judge during the U.S. Open. WBUR sports commentator Bill Littlefield says the question now is how Williams will endeavor to rehabilitate her image. (AP)

Where does Serena Williams go from here?

Well, first, to the bank. She earned $350,000 for making it to the finals of the singles competition, and half of another $420,000 for winning the doubles title with her sister.

Williams has so far been fined $10,500 for what she said to a line judge while losing the singles final, so she’ll have to ask for some cash back when she makes her deposit, or perhaps buy a cashier’s check.

In the real apology on Tuesday that followed her previous “sort-of” apology, Williams said she would like to give the line judge whom she apparently threatened “a big hug and put it behind us.”

So far the line judge has not said whether she would like to be hugged. If she goes along with Serena’s offer, it would provide the disgraced tennis player’s rehabilitation with a wonderful photo op, at least until the line judge fell, insensible and blue, at Serena’s feet.

But seriously, what should Serena Williams do to put last weekend’s shame behind her and regain her image as a gloriously accomplished, albeit curiously unassuming and hugely admirable, role model?

She could make a sizeable contribution to SPISO, the Society for the Prevention of the Intimidation of Sports Officials. Or perhaps in her next match, she could call a foot fault on herself, then smile at the line judge, as if to say, “I know your job is difficult and anxiety-provoking. Why not let me help?”

Bill Babcock, the Executive Director of the International Tennis Federation, has said that the investigation of the Williams Affair will take weeks, if not more. Why that should be so, since there is no longer any dispute about what happened, is a little mysterious.

But the delay means that Serena Williams will have plenty of time to visit hospitals, speak out on behalf of healthy foods and in opposition to people who are mean, and bang in a nail or two at a house being built for a family that would otherwise be living in a van by the river.

The result? When the ITF does announce whatever additional punishment will be assessed, most people will regard Serena Williams as a victim.


Bill Littlefield comments on sports for WBUR and hosts “Only A Game” each Saturday at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

This program aired on September 16, 2009.

Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.

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