Self-control was missing from Serena's side of the net

Friday, September 14, 2018
Bill Bumpas, Jody Brown (

tennis imageTwo Christian broadcasters from the sports arena are weighing in on Serena Williams' temper tantrum last Saturday during the finals of the U.S. Open.

Already down a set, it fell apart for the seven-time Wimbledon women's singles champ when the umpire gave a warning, believing her coach was giving her instructions from the stands.  Williams, the winner of 23 grand slam titles in all, would later lose a point for smashing her racquet. Then she topped it off by berating the umpire about being treated unfairly. It resulted in Williams being docked a game – and her opponent, Naomi Osaka, eventually cruised to victory.

OneNewsNow talked to David Wheaton, a former pro tennis player-turned Christian apologist, about lessons to be learned from the incident. Wheaton, who played professionally on the tour for 13 years, is host of The Christian Worldview program. He acknowledges that Williams is a great champion and one of the most accomplished female athletes – but that she let her emotions overtake her as she threw a tantrum at the U.S. Open finals.

Wheaton says while listening to what he describes as "blame-shifting" during post-match explanations, it felt like he was listening in on the Garden of Eden.


"The coach was asked whether he coached [from the stands] and he said, 'Yeah, I did coach,'" Wheaton recalls. "So in other words, he was just admitting he was breaking the rules, he was cheating. But he said 'But everyone does it.' In other words, Okay, no big deal – everyone does this, so therefore ....

"And then Serena implicitly [admitted] she abused the umpire [during the match], but [then argued that] the men do it worse and they don't get penalized for it, so therefore ...."

Wheaton suggests that instead of "blame-shifting," people just need to start taking responsibility for their own actions.

Bryce Johnson, president and founder of UNPACKIN' it Ministries, also weighed in on the matter in one of his recent commentaries on issues in the sports world. Like Wheaton, he argues that "misguided emotions" got the best of everyone involved – but that it can happen to anyone.


"We can all allow the stresses of work to cause negative responses at home – or vice versa," Johnson writes. "When we take our anger from something else and direct it toward the wrong person, the negative emotion can cost us 'a point' or even 'a game' if we allow it to."

He cites Proverbs 16:32 and James 1:19-20 as scriptures that can encourage believers as they deal with self-control.

"Having self-control prevents us from losing it, but we can't attain that in our own power," he concludes. "As followers of Jesus, we must rely on God's Holy Spirit within us to help us overcome our anger and frustration."

Johnson hosts a weekly radio program that recently debuted on the Sports Byline USA network.

Consider Supporting Us?

The staff at strives daily to bring you news from a biblical perspective. If you benefit from this platform and want others to know about it please consider a generous gift today.



We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details




Evangelicals get most passionate about politics when ...





  Democrats gear up for more digital spending in 2020
  Melania Trump's Moment: first lady flexes muscles in big way
  1 dead, dozens injured in French fuel taxes protests
  Florida high school massacre panel considers recommendations
Migrants won't see armed US soldiers on border
Fire deaths rise to 71 ahead of Trump's California visit
US official: US intel says prince ordered Khashoggi killing


Trump talks to press as he leaves for California, trashes 'typical' NYT 'phony story' on Pence 20 mins
Mia Love takes slight lead in tight Utah race, loses in court
Argentine navy submarine found 2,600 feet deep in Atlantic one year after disappearing
Klukowski: DOJ should appeal court's reinstating CNN Acosta's credentials
Saudi crown prince ordered killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, CIA reportedly concludes


Cartoon of the Day


Anthem protester signed after accusing NFL of collusion

Kaepernick kneeling (good AP pic)Eric Reid – the former San Francisco 49er defensive back who kneeled alongside quarterback teammate Colin Kaepernick season ago during national anthems – has signed with the Carolina Panthers after filing a grievance against the National Football League for allegedly colluding to keep him out of the league over his defiant protests.