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Newsday letters to the editor for Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018

Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams after Osaka's U.S.

Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams after Osaka's U.S. Open win Saturday. Credit: AP / Julio Cortez

Barbara Barker’s column unfortunately missed a terrific teaching opportunity [“Double standard looms for Serena,” Sports, Sept. 10].

The rules in Grand Slam tennis events are clear, as is the code of decorum set forth to ensure proper conduct. By violating these rules Serena Williams has no one to blame but herself for the consequences.

By invoking the idea of a “double standard,” Barker affords Williams the opportunity to avoid her responsibility.

Williams alone smashed her racket and Williams alone argued with the chair umpire, knowing she already had been assessed two violations. Williams alone took the risk of losing a game through another violation by continuing to argue and then insult the chair umpire.

To offer the men who berated the chair umpires and linespeople in the past as cover is a red herring argument. And to speculate on what would have happened had a man acted exactly as Williams and her coach had is silly because we can’t possibly know that.

What we do know is that Williams was appropriately sanctioned and the chair umpire appropriately assessed violations under the rules.

The unfortunate residue of Williams’ actions is that Naomi Osaka was robbed of the pleasure of spontaneously celebrating her hard-fought and well-earned victory. And that Williams robbed herself of the opportunity to possibly stage an amazing comeback.

Our actions have consequences and no matter how badly someone has acted in the past, whether man or woman, we are still responsible for those actions. That is the message lost in Barker’s piece.

John McLoughlin, Bay Shore

Billie Jean King is whining that Serena Williams would not have been levied any fines, or been penalized, in response to her childish tantrum — ruining Naomi Osaka’s victory — at the U.S. Open if she were a man.

Really? Tell that to John McEnroe, who received multiple warnings and months of suspensions, was ejected from the 1985 Davis Cup — the same year he lost his honorary membership at the London Queens Club — was ejected from the 1990 Australian Open and accrued $69,500 worth of fines, between 1977 and 1991.

In actuality, Williams has a lot of catching up to do.

Brad Morris, Astoria

Naomi Osaka won the U.S. Open Championship. However, in your Sunday paper, your back page highlighted Serena Williams.

Inside the sports section, there was an article about the code violations during the tournament and a column about the U.S. Open deserving better. Both were mostly about Serena Williams and the code violations. Where is the stand-alone article of the champion and a showcase picture of her holding the trophy?

I am very disappointed there was not a stand-alone article about the champion. The controversy will go on and we will hear a lot about it. Naomi Osaka deserved her day and the respect that goes with the great tournament she had.

Michael Feldman, Plainview

One way to learn to deal with anxiety

In “Hello from the trunk of my car” [Expressway, Sept. 2], Daniela Rothman writes about feeling anxious on an airplane when the passengers were delayed after landing.

Is her experience with cognitive behavior therapy that successful and fast-working? To combat her claustrophobia, she did some exercises in class and at home. Being locked in a container with chains on the lid by her teacher? Being locked in the trunk of a car? Just the thought of those things puts me in such a panic that I can’t imagine anyone with claustrophobia able to go to those extremes.

But, as they say, don’t knock it ’til you try it.

Linda McCready, Wantagh

Political activism is academia’s challenge

Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz is deluding himself if he thinks today’s institutions of higher learning are the bastions of open and balanced discourse that he says they are [“Students can reinforce democracy,” Opinion, Sept. 5].

From the disinvitation of Christine Lagarde, the first woman to lead the International Monetary Fund, to speak at Smith College in Massachusetts after a student protest of her support of “global patriarchy” to student intimidation by tenured professors utilizing the power of the grade to ensure ideological compliance, only the naive would say there is not a serious problem in America’s colleges and universities.

There have been several nonpartisan studies of the corrupting effect of political activism on academia, including one specifically for the University of California entitled “A Crisis of Competence,” which was prepared by the National Association of Scholars in 2012. Until there is exposure of the problem and credible proposals to address it, intellectually and ideologically malleable, social-media-addicted students will continue to be fodder for those willing to utilize them to achieve and maintain power, whatever the cost.

Marc Schenck, Albertson