Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Time to write about Gimelstob

I thought I could just subtly overlook this story and let bloggers like Diane take care of it, but the story about Justin Gimelstob's sexist, misogynistic comments seems to making more news a week after it broke somewhat quietly across the pond.
I didn't have anything profound to say when I read about Gimelstob's trashing of female tennis players generally, his sexualization of a few specific ones, and his violent comments toward Anna Kournikova (all his comments, in my mind, inflict a certain amount of violence, but his one about hitting Kournikova was most explicit). And I don't suppose I have anything especially profound to say about it now either.
Am I surprised a male athlete who only had a so-so professional career by modern standards and has been given a mouthpiece by the media so easily dispenses with misogynist rants? Nope.
Am I surprised that the apology he issued (or Tennis Warehouse issues--hard to tell) wasn't really an apology? Nope.
Am I surprised that World Team Tennis CEO Ilana Koss only suspended Gimelstob for one match without pay, simply saying that his remarks were unacceptable? A little bit. It doesn't even qualify as a slap on the wrist.
Am I disappointed that Billie Jean King said basically the same thing as Kloss and took Gimelstob's unspecified donation for the Women's Sports Foundation? Yep. As a member, I can say that's not really the kind of donation I want the organization to be taking. Grovelling but completely meaningless money.
Do I think the ATP, the organization on which Gimelstob serve as a member of the board of directors, should have done something to address this? Yep--I think they should have kicked his sexist booty out. Was I surprised that they did not? Um, no. I am sure many of them have had some not so nice thought of their own about female players.
Am I now insanely conflicted about shopping at Tennis Warehouse? Perhaps. Well maybe not. There are plenty of other online tennis products websites and I actually don't buy from them on a regular basis. Not that that such reasons should form the basis of my decision. If TW is smart they'll stop airing that commercial with Gimelstob pronto.
And finally am I surprised that many female tennis players who have been asked about the comments seem to be able to shrug them off and say something to the effect of "that's just Justin being Justin" or that everyone should forgive him his trespasses and simply move on? Not, unfortunately, in the least bit.

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