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From what Serena Williams wears on the court to being accused of cheating, the sports icon has been public enemy number one for the powers that be in tennis. Now, an Australian paper is under fire for publishing a clearly racist image of the tennis star, and the media outlet was defending its hate.

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Williams was accused of getting “coaching” while playing against Naomi Osaka in the U.S. Open final on Saturday, which made her say to the umpire, “I have never cheated in my life. I have a daughter and I stand for what is right and I have never cheated.”

She was then issued three code violations, which ultimately equaled $17,000 in fines. The moment was a clear instance of sexism, racism and double standards, but the Sydney Morning Herald mocked Williams with the image below, which was drawn by Mark Knight.

The image has been slammed for being racist. Everyone from civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson to “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling was outraged.

The Sydney Morning Herald was doubling down.

“A champion tennis player had a mega tantrum on the world stage, and Mark’s cartoon depicted that,” Herald editor Damon Johnston wrote in a statement. “It had nothing to do with gender or race. This was about a bad sport being mocked.”

Mark Knight also made excuses.

“I drew this cartoon Sunday night after seeing the US Open final, and seeing the world’s best tennis player have a tantrum and thought that was interesting,” he said. “The cartoon about Serena is about her poor behaviour on the day, not about race. The world has just gone crazy.”

Whenever you hear something has “nothing” to do with race, that means it probably has everything to do with race.


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