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Serena Williams Slams Pro Tennis for ‘Punishing’ Her for Taking Maternity Leave

On the day of International Women’s Day, Williams also accused pro tennis of being sexist.

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Tennis star Serena Williams is claiming that professional tennis “punished” her because she dared to take maternity leave from the sport.

In a new op-ed, Williams slammed the “biased” tennis ranking system by which she took a hit after giving birth to her baby and taking an eight-month break from the game.

“When I returned to tennis from maternity leave, I was penalized for taking time off: my ranking dropped from #1 in the world to #453,” she wrote in an op-ed published Friday by Fortune.

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Williams insisted that the ranking system even led to her injury earlier this year.

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She added that the raking system “required me to face tougher competition earlier in the French Open, which led to a pectoral injury that forced me to drop out.”

“I fought hard personally, making it to the Wimbledon final shortly after,” Williams continued, “but I also fought hard publicly against the biased ranking system. We must stop penalizing women when they return to their careers after having children.”

On the day of International Women’s Day, Williams also accused pro tennis of being sexist.

“Women deserve to be given the same respect and opportunities as our male counterparts. We are entitled to the same open doors,” she wrote.

Williams has since regained her status among the top ten female players in the world.

The World Tennis Association did recently change its rules to address the very problem Williams cited in her op-ed. The WTA has ruled that women may retain their pre-maternity ranking to enter 12 tournaments over three years before the normal ranking system applies.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

 

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Good Guy Shaquille O’Neal Sees Single Mother’s Social Media Post, Leaps into Action

Shaquille O’Neal was know for being a fierce competitor in the NBA, but it’s his big heart that has been on display this week.

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Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal may be one of the biggest basketball stars of all time, literally and figuratively, but that doesn’t mean that he’s forgotten where he came from. This week, word of O’Neal’s goodwill was spreading rapidly via social media, after the former pro athlete took the plight of one single mother to heart. Zach Keith, a 13-year-old middle school student who plays basketball and football, already wears a size 18 shoe. As the American average male shoe size is a 10.5, his mother, Brittany, finds it difficult not only to find a pair of shoes that will fit her son, but also a pair that she’s able to afford. Brittany, who is a single mom, posted a plea for help for her 6’2″-tall son on Instagram, writing, “if you can do anything to help I will be so appreciative.” Shaq then sprung into action. Upon learning of the family’s situation, CNN affiliate WGCL in Atlanta reached out to Shaquille O’Neal, who was more than happy to have the opportunity to pay it forward. “I reminisced back how that used to be me, my mom and my dad,” O’Neal told WGCL of Zach’s story. When O’Neal was trying to find size 18 penny loafers for his prom ensemble, his father eventually found Friedman’s Shoes in Atlanta. The owner of the shoe store, Bruce Teilhaber, gave Shaq a pair of shoes for free and ever since O’Neal, now a size 22, has frequented his business. “Bruce did it for me, and I just want to return the favor,” O’Neal said. O’Neal surprised Zach and his family at Friedman’s. There, Shaq generously bought the teenager ten pairs of shoes. The gesture overwhelmed young Zach, who was both surprised and extremely thankful for the help.

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DERBY DRAMA! World’s Most Famous Horse Race Ends in Unprecedented Fashion

The Kentucky Derby has been around since 1875, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve seen everything the race has to offer.

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The Kentucky Derby has always held a special place in the pantheon of American sports. The horse race, which has been run since 1875, is legendary in and of its own right.  It has been seen as the ultimate test of thoroughbred prowess, jockey skill, and the wit of American gamblers. Off the track, however, the Derby comes complete with class and pageantry unrivaled the world over.  All in attendance, both in person and at a myriad of watch parties around the country, are encouraged to participate by showing off their most outrageous headgear and sipping on the official beverage of the race:  The mint julep. And while this tradition has been ongoing for well over a century, that doesn’t mean that we’ve seen it all yet. In 2019, for instance, the drama on the track led to an unprecedented piece of officiating. Maximum Security co-owner Gary West criticized race stewards’ disqualification of his horse’s Kentucky Derby victory as “egregious” and said he was pondering his next step, including a possible appeal. “I think this is the most egregious disqualification in the history of horse racing, and not just because it’s our horse,” West told The Associated Press by phone Saturday night. Several hours earlier, Maximum Security appeared to back up his undefeated record with a 1¾-length victory in the slop over Country House in the Kentucky Derby. The victory was overturned 22 minutes later with a stunning decision by the stewards to disqualify the 9-2 second choice because of interference. The horse then declared the winner was a massive longest. Runner-up Country House, a 65-1 long shot, was elevated to the winner’s circle to the astonishment of Maximum Security’s team, which insisted the horse did not cut off his competitors. West is weighing his options for appeal, including lodging formal…

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