Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Tale of Two Injuries, Part II

Let me straight up admit that I perceive Bouchard to be irksomely entitled and privileged.  She reminds me of Jennifer Lawrence – loud, self-proclaiming, attention seeking, and beyond ignorant.  Let me give you one example of why I find Bouchard to be an annoying bore – and of course I respect your right to interpret her behavior differently than I did.   

In 2014, Bouchard was given a main draw wild card for the Hong Kong Open after reportedly forgetting to enter.  I have not checked the WTA Official Rulebook but I can’t imagine that forgetting to enter an event is consistent with established rules.   Bouchard was then widely promoted as the public face of the Hong Kong Open in an apparent exchange for appearance fees.  

Bouchard next proceeded to withdraw from the tournament at the last minute, citing heat exertion from the US Open.  Tournament organizers became understandably annoyed, having heavily marketed the event on the basis of her acceptance of a main draw wild card.  The WTA responded by fining a tournament official.  Bouchard seemed unfazed and unscathed, breezily moving on to the Wuhan Open where she lost in the finals.  And that, my friends, is how privilege works. 

In June 2014, Bouchard also signed a three-year endorsement deal with Coca-Cola.  In 2015, she signed a 10-year partnership deal with Aviva Canada.  She has had promotional deals with Rogers Communications, Pinty’s, Nike, and Babolat.  In addition, she has earned over $5 million in prize money.  And Bouchard plays the media game like a champ, making highly publicized dates on Twitter with randos.  

I don’t dislike Bouchard for any of this.  I dislike the fact that for those already privileged, the endorsement system seems designed to give them even more.

In the meantime, Tornado Alicia Black continues to struggle to take care of her ailing mother and her tennis-player sister.  She has earned a grand total of $47,311. dollars in prize money.  Not bad for a junior player, but nothing you can live on.  She has had to rely on crowd-funding to help cover her medical expenses.  Her financial hardships remain rooted in the experiences of dark-skinned people all over this country.  Her lack of access and privilege borders on the depressing. 

And understand that I am not saying that it is either the responsibility of Eugenie Bouchard or the USTA to help a brown sister out.  We are all responsible only for ourselves.  It’s just so shitty to realize how the systems of privilege and entitlement continue to benefit only a select few.  Tennis is still struggling as a sport to find any kind of egalitarianism or inclusion.

So I find myself thinking that it’s too bad that Tornado didn’t damage her hips by slipping and falling in a USTA bathroom with no witnesses around to verify her claim.  But then again, even if she had, and then continued to play as if she had never been injured, no one would have believed her claim.  It’s amazing the way rules work for some folk and not for others. 

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