Friday, September 18, 2009

Fines in Tennis...Golf Next?

You've probably heard about Serena being fined a total of $10,500. for her behavior during her finals match at the US Open. Then, Roger Federer got fined $1,500 for his use of an expletive when talking to the umpire. I understand emotions run high in competitions and built-up frustration can cause someone to blow up. There are limits, however.

I agree with the fine against Serena because she did much more than just use an expletive. Besides her use of many expletives, she was threatening of the line umpire as she waved her racket in a taunting manner. Moreover, she didn't just explode once, she went back at her two additional times.

And, to get into a possibly sensitive area, I don't think the line umpire made the foot fault call because of her racism. Arguably the opposite could also be true that Serena was being racist as she went after the petite Asian umpire. If the line umpire was black would she have behaved the same way?

Calls of racism whether in sports or politics should be omitted. There is no way of knowing, without their admission, what their reasons are for speaking and acting out in whatever way. It only adds possibly unwarranted and unfounded speculation to an already bad situation.

As to Federer's fine, I understand why he was fined, i.e. you can't allow players to use an expletive when speaking to an umpire. But, I don't find his comments as extreme as Serena's. I suspect that word is part of his everyday vernacular. In this case, though, Federer shouldn't have said it to the umpire.

So, will we see fines in golf next? I doubt it. Tiger's use of expletives and slamming of clubs seem to be less recently. Understandably, it's objectionable because kids watch him and want to emulate him. But, his tirades are directed at himself. He's not gone after another player, Stevie, or a Rules official with his club waving at them, or even in any conversations that we've heard.

How does this relate to business golf with your clients? It should be pretty obvious that you can't pull a Serena and go after another player. That kind of out of control behavior will likely cost you clients and your reputation in the community. If you let loose an expletive or two, I'd apologize, so your business guests know it's not part of your usual way of speaking.

Most clients can understand a slip of the tongue. It's important though that they also know you realize it was inappropriate and have a standard of decorum.

Hope you get to out and play this weekend!

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