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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Someone Wrote That Stupid Column About Serena Williams Crip Walking We Were All Waiting For

Illustration for article titled Someone Wrote That Stupid Column About Serena Williams Crip Walking We Were All Waiting For

We practically begged for this yesterday and Reid Forgrave over at Fox Sports happily obliged because the "Royal Gods of Wimbledon" (always capitalized, I checked) made the American flag fall down. Or something.


This thing is dripping with crotchety-old-man-juice and sprinkled with some...let's call it poorly-chosen imagery.

Then the 30-year-old who will end her career as one of the greatest tennis players of all time did something that could be interpreted two ways: As a stupid and insensitive celebration that dampened the crowning moment, or as a joy-filled nod to her roots.


Guess which way we're headed on this one.

The woman who grew up in Compton did the Crip Walk.

For the uninitiated, the Crip Walk is a funky little hip-hop dance move made famous by Crip gang members in Compton in the 1970s.

And there was Serena - the tennis legend, the winner of 14 individual Grand Slams, the best player of her generation, the American girl being crowned at the All-England Club as the queen of tennis - Crip-Walking all over the most lily-white place in the world.

For the uninitiated, "lily-white," while often times used as a descriptor meaning "pure" almost to the point of prudishness, also was used to describe clubs that discriminated against and excluded black people. Quite the image, no? So, for the uninitiated, consider yourselves caught up to speed on that little bit of usage.

She was pleading ignorance. She knew that even associating the word "Crip" with a gold-medal performance could be toxic to her image, even if the dance itself is now distanced from those gang roots.


"Even though this is not a big deal—like, at all—I am making it a big, toxic, deal." And making it into a big deal in the most chickenshit way imaginable. Hell, he makes excuses for Serena throughout the article, only ever saying she ruined her moment because of a "moment of innocent, though unfortunate, American celebration." Reid Forgrave doesn't say this was a terrible act—that's just how it's going to play, you see.

Reid Forgrave is an issue spotter. He spots the issues, helpfully pointing out pertinent information. "It's innocent! But totally unfortunate that people who are not me will think it was a terrible thing and, oh yeah, Serena Williams is from Compton, where they have gangs who dance like she danced at Wimbledon."


Do I think Reid Forgrave is a malignant racist? No, of course not. It's just, people are going to react to it. Even if the phrase is not really associated with this country's sad and disgusting history of segregation anymore, people will whisper. He just messed up his column with a moment of innocent, though unfortunate, American Jim Crow-connotation.

Image via Getty
h/t Dan T.

Serena flubs crowning moment [Fox]

For a handy master schedule of every Olympic event, click here.

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