LeBron James is sticking behind fellow Nike athlete Serena Williams.
James said he understood Williams’ feelings of frustration that emerged during the Sept. 8 U.S. Open finals Sept. 8. The tennis star was penalized for arguing with the male chief umpire, Carlos Ramos, after he gave her a penalty for consulting with her coach, which she said she did not do.
“What we all have to understand is, what she is fighting for is bigger than just that match,” James told The Hollywood Reporter. “She is fighting for equality — always having to win more, more, more, just to feel equal. Being an African-American woman playing in a predominantly white sport, she’s dealing with so much more. I have no idea what was going on in her head, but I feel that struggle.”
The Los Angeles Laker added that he has been looking at things from the female perspective more since the birth of his only daughter, 3-year-old Zhuri (he has two sons, Lebron Jr., 13, and Bryce, 11).
Following Williams’ penalties, she went on to lose the final 6-2, 6-3 to Naomi Osaka and was fined $17,000 for her on-court actions. The tennis pro’s penalties elicited a variety of responses, with some accusing her of throwing a temper tantrum and others arguing that she was the victim of both sexism and racism.
With James’ decisive statements in support of Williams, he’s making clear which side of the argument he stands on.
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