Before the women's final of the BNP Paribas Open, the event's CEO Raymond Moore spoke at a press conference and his answers to reporters' questions were outright sexist. Moore claimed that both the Women's Tennis Association and its players ride on the coattails of men, used the term "lady player," and commented on the physical attractiveness of a couple of the tour's best young athletes.
Here's Moore diving into a hole and digging it deeper, via Ben Rothenberg.
Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore's remarks this morning not likely to delight the WTA, its players, or fans: pic.twitter.com/56zSV0SK2X— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 20, 2016
More from Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore this morning, further down his remarks: pic.twitter.com/nXNATitvrR— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 20, 2016
The BNP Paribas Open -- better known as the Indian Wells Masters -- has been a mandatory stop on the WTA tour since 2009, but Serena and Venus Williams boycotted the event from 2002 until last year. Serena played in the final on Sunday, losing 6-4, 6-4 to Victoria Azarenka, and spoke about Moore's comments following the match.
"We as women have come a long way. We shouldn't have to drop to our knees at any point." -Serena Williams, who nailed her whole response.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 20, 2016
At the 2001 edition of the tournament, Venus and Serena were drawn together in the semifinal, but Venus had to withdraw due to injury. Tournament officials didn't tell the crowd until 10 minutes before the match's scheduled start time, which made some paying fans very angry. At the final, Serena was heckled constantly and officials did nothing to combat it. Additionally, her father and then coach, Richard Williams, reported being racially abused. The Williams family says that tournament officials did not apologize to them.
Serena Williams is the top-ranked women's tennis player in the world and by far the most popular player in the United States, so her return to the tournament has likely made Moore and his company quite a bit of money. And since he couldn't keep his garbage anti-women opinions to himself, he risks losing some of his most important business partners -- which might explain his quick attempt to apologize.
A hasty apology from Raymond Moore, on his "extremely poor taste and erroneous" comments from hours ago. pic.twitter.com/I4u935JRjJ— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 20, 2016