Mike Rowse A voice from New Mexico

27Jun/170

Let’s get real, John was right

With the left it is always about identity politics. They are the ones that continually put labels on someone and they are the ones who framed every discussion about some identity. The latest victim of the smear campaign is John McEnroe who is under fire by the left, at least some of the left, for saying that Serena Williams would be ranked number 700 in the world if she played the men’s tennis tour full-time.

Now let’s put this in context; McEnroe was appearing on an NPR show to promote his latest book. I believe the host’s name was Lulu Navarro Garcia. The topic turned to Serena Williams and her place in history. McEnroe said she is the greatest female tennis player ever, bar none. Navarro Garcia asked why he felt it necessary to qualify her as the greatest female player in the world and not just the greatest tennis player. McEnroe replied quite simply, she’s not the greatest tennis player in the world.

McEnroe said that he was not trying to take away from Serena and that on any given day she might be able to be some of the best men’s players in the world. However if she were to play the men’s circuit full time she might be ranked like number 700 and the world simply because it’s a different game. He went on to point out that no female in any sport could be consistently successful in the men’s version of that sport.

What the WNBA champion stand a chance against the Golden State Warriors? Not even close. With the Connecticut lady Huskies be able to compete against the University of Kentucky or Duke men’s teams? No not a chance. In fact the most dominant team in women’s college basketball over the last 15 years probably could not beat a good Division II team. The best female golfers of all time have tried to compete on the men’s tour with little or no success. They certainly couldn’t compete for the win.

This is not to denigrate women’s sports but to point out, as Michael Willbon put it, women physically are not yet capable of competing over the long haul against men. At least not at the elite levels found in college sports and the professional ranks. Certainly there are examples of female athletes at the high school or lower levels competing with the male counterparts but we know from biology that women tend to develop more quickly physically than teenage boys do.

Even Serena agrees with John McEnroe. After hearing what McEnroe said in the interview Serena sent out a tweet asking McEnroe to leave her out of this. However a couple of years ago in an interview with David Letterman, Serena was asked if she could compete with or beat Andy Murray. Serena quickly answered, “no way.” She went on to say that it would last about 15 to 20 minutes and she would lose 6-0, 6-0. She did seem to infer that she might be able to beat a lower level player, maybe around number 100 or so, but she understood that even though she is a very strong, physical tennis player, the strong physical men’s players are bigger, faster, stronger and there are more of them.

Of course some of those in the femi-nazi crowd point to Billie Jean King beating Bobby Riggs back in the 1970s. Okay so she beat a 70-year-old man when she was the best women’s tennis player in the world. Could she have beaten John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, or any of the other top-ranked men’s players at the time? No.

There will come a time and maybe not in the very distant future that certain female athletes will compete on the same level as their male counterparts. Maybe it will come in the running sports or possibly even golf. I think we are also about to see the first female player in the NFL, it will be a kicker and not a position player but I think it will happen.

The bottom line is this, no matter what your gender or other demographic characteristic if you earn the position through your skills and abilities, then you should be allowed to play at the highest levels of your sport. Maybe the more appropriate discussion to have about Serena is whether or not she is the most dominant player in her sport as compared to the best players in other sports. I think that puts her into the discussion with Tiger Woods, Babe Ruth, Wilt Chamberlain, and others who dominated in their field of endeavor. Saying you are the best in your sport is a huge compliment and saying that you are the best female player in your sport is not denigrating to most people, only those who play identity politics with every facet of our lives.

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