More than 71 years since Jackie Robinson made headlines for breaking baseball’s color barrier, discrimination in sports is still an ongoing issue among athletes.
Most recently, Serena Williams has gone public to call out the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for “discrimination” due to receiving random drug testing more frequently than other professional tennis players — both men and women. As of June, the USADA has tested Williams five times in 2018, according to the agency’s database.
“Out of all the players it’s been proven I’m the one getting tested the most,” Williams tweeted on Tuesday. “Discrimination? I think so. At least I’ll be keeping the sport clean.”
Keeping the sport clean is a part of the USADA’s mantra, which resulted in the 2011-2012 investigation of American cyclist Lance Armstrong, who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles and handed a lifetime ban after admitting to his long-term use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Aside from forcing Armstrong’s admission, the Colorado-based agency’s testing protocol for athletes has also come into questioning in the past. In 2015, the Nevada State Athletic Commission called out the USADA for permitting Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s use of an IV treatment for dehydration prior to his fight against Manny Pacquiao.
“USADA has historically been recognized as the world’s leading anti-doping authority. However, my experiences to date with them have been less than acceptable and less than professional,” Bob Bennett, the executive director of the Nevada commission, told Los Angeles Times. A USADA spokeswoman later released a statement stating Mayweather’s use of the IV “was not prohibited under the NSAC rules at that time and would not be a violation of the NSAC rules today.”
Despite the USADA’s invasive and targeted testing of Serena Williams, it should be noted that the 23-time Grand Slam record holder has never tested positive for illegal substances in her 23-year career.
So what’s the USADA’s response for targeting Williams? According to a statement provided to Deadspin, the “USADA retains the right to test any athlete at any time and may target test athletes as USADA deems appropriate.”
“Consistent with safeguarding reasonable privacy concerns and serving as an investigative agency, USADA is committed to transparency and therefore regularly posts completed testing numbers on the USADA website,” the statement added. “However, given that testing missions result from a wide variety of factors, USADA does not believe that useful conclusions can generally be drawn from comparing the testing frequency for athletes over particular time frames.”
So what’s the *real motive* to targeting Williams for illegal substances?
Could it be, the fact that the greatest tennis player of all-time is a black woman? Could it be, the agency wants to discredit all of her great humanitarian work and accomplishments across the globe? Or could it be, she’s just that damn phenomenal and the USADA have an issue with a Queen sitting on top of her global throne?
Perhaps, Williams’ ex-boyfriend and Academy Award-winner, Common has the answer:
“If they’re testing her more than anyone else, it’s a reason for that. And there’s conscious and subconscious and I would say consciousness is the fact that she’s a black woman and they’re looking for some reason to be able to take her down and discredit her … but she’s the queen,” Common told TMZ this week.
“She’s one of the greatest figures in sports EVER and leaders. She’s an incredible human being,” he added. “I don’t know why they wanna bring her down. She does so much for the sport.”
Here’s a piece of advice for the USADA, next time try testing your insecurities!