At the most recent US Open tennis championship, Serena Williams was facing off against Naomi Osaka for the grand slam title. However by the end of the tournament things did not end well for Serena. As the title may lead you to believe, there were some hefty fines handed out at this event. Serena Williams received 3 fines in total of 17,000$: 10,000$ for verbal abuse for when she had been confronting Carlos Ramos (umpire), 4,000$ for a coaching violation when she allegedly took signals from the sidelines, and another 3,000$ for racket abuse after she threw her racket at the ground in frustration. In the end she walked away from the US Open with no title in hand plus 17,000$ in fine. Following all of the news coverage and publicity this event created, Williams has since said that she would like to move on from the controversy, but continues to deny some of the allegations against her. Lastly, and presumably due to her recent “performance” at the US Open, Williams will not be attending the upcoming China Open in Beijing as her name was not in the draw.
So, should such large fines be handed out to professional athletes? In my opinion yes, they should be handed out and it is fair that they are handed out. From a functionalist point of view, rules exist for a reason and should therefore be enforced in order to ensure professional sports remain professional. According to ‘The legal status of disciplinary regulations in sport’ “…all created rules and their application are subject to overall limits set forth by the legal system. In short, these are the interdiction to breach the law, public policy, morality, the general principles of law…” (Rosmarijn van Kleef, 2014). This means that Serena’s actions were justification for pecuniary sanctions (fines), as they breached rules set forth by the organization. I’ll leave a link to the coverage on YouTube that includes her racket breaking moment, if you haven’t seen it.