Rules are rules, and Serena Williams should take responsibility for her team's failure to follow them

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Sunday 09 September 2018 16:23
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Serena Williams says she is sticking up for women's rights following a heated Umpire Exchange at the US Open

The performance of Serena Williams off the court has tarred her on-court reputation. A champion should act as a champion especially as they are seen as role models.

Calling the umpire a liar is wrong – the umpire is right at all times, even when they make mistakes, and video reviews should also be removed. After having coached many school sports teams for 30 years I have always emphasised that philosophy and yes, sometimes umpires make mistakes but not intentionality.

The statement that she doesn’t cheat is not that simple – her team admitted there was coaching. It doesn’t matter that the coaching wasn’t seen, it did happen and should be responded to as it is cheating. The reality is that it is her team’s and thus her responsibility to prevent any cheating.

The statement that it never happened to a man is wrong – John McEnroe was disqualified from the Australian Open on 21 January 1990 after several code violations.

Not telling the crowd to be quiet immediately during the presentations was also wrong. The winner should be cheered and Serena should be the loudest cheerer. It’s just good manners.

The concern for her daughter is positive, although she will see this game and the performance on and off the court and may not see it as such a positive.

Williams, return to being the champion that you have been before.

Dennis Fitzgerald
Melbourne, Australia

Brexit and the border issue

For Brexit, the land border on the isle of Ireland is proving to be as sticky an issue as any, and it is obvious that, although they would have us believe they are full of wisdom, Brexiteers had been completely ignorant of the fact that the UK is not entirely surrounded by water, despite the decades of constant reminders during The Troubles.

Indeed, their putative leader, a self-styled historian but obviously no geographer, had dismissed the issue as the tail wagging the dog. What then, do these little Englanders think of the fact that it would be easier to draw their territorial boundary between the Solway and the Tweed? We are told that there are 208 crossings along the 310 mile border between Ireland and the UK. But a quick scrutiny shows that there are only 31 roads and two rail crossings between Scotland and England. And, for reasons of history, stretching back at least as far as the Roman occupation, the number of towns proximal to the present Scotland-England border is few by comparison with other boundaries, let alone that between Ireland and the UK. So, cross-border traffic is minuscule, except in the extreme east and west, requiring commensurately few check points. For those of us who wish to remain in the EU, this has to be food for thought.

Ian Reid
Oban, Scotland

The final Brexit deal

If, as seems increasingly unlikely, Theresa May is allowed by her more extreme Brexit-leaning colleagues to come to a deal with the EU, it seems only reasonable that this deal is put to the people. Those who would prefer to remain may reject it out of hand or accept that it is the best we will get given the circumstances. But equally important, those who voted to leave will also have the option to reject it if it doesn’t go far enough. I really cannot see why either side would not want a Final Say.

G Forward
Stirling

The gender pay gap is real

My letter is in response to the article “Texas doctor apologises for saying gender pay gap is ‘fair’ since women doctors don’t ‘want to work the long hours”.

It is certain that there is a pay gap across professions all around the world. What the doctor got right is that women do in fact spend less time at work, and instead spend time at home as mothers. That does not however, mean the pay gap is fair. The reason women leave work to be moms is because society has assigned the role of “caregiver” to women alone. It is expected of women with children to take maternity leave, otherwise they are denounced as awful mothers. Yet, it is rare for a new father to take paternity leave, and even more rare for a job to offer such a thing. Women are then forced to choose between a career and a family, and if they attempt both they are criticised for not excelling at both. Once mothers and fathers are held to the same standard as parents then, and only then, will the pay gap begin to narrow.

Liliana Rose Ramos
Sacramento, California

Syrians are still suffering

The 21st century has witnessed a plethora of conflicts stemming from poverty, inequality, injustices and the inequitable and unfair distribution of wealth, power and social resources. The Syrian war has been dragging on for almost eight years with over half a million dead and millions who suffer injuries, homelessness, displacement and hunger. The Syrian conflict has spawned the biggest humanitarian and refugee calamity in our times. It has been declared by the UN as the worst refugee crisis in recent history since the Second World War. The vast majority of displaced Syrians has been dispersed to neighbouring countries including Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. With the impending onslaught on Idlib, there seems no end in sight to the suffering of Syrians.

Sadly, despite the rhetoric that the predicament of refugees has become a matter of international concern – the foremost forum to address issues related to collective human rights, solidarity, dignity and decency, and global challenges that transcend national boundaries – people continue to suffer. When will the international community listen to the voices of reason and wisdom and intervene to stop this killing machinery?

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob
London, NW2

What is Corbyn doing to Labour?

Much has been made by Jeremy Corbyn of the size and apparent unity of the current membership of the Labour Party. To represent this as a democratic legitimisation of his position and policies is entirely disingenuous. It should be to clear to any objective observer that the Labour Party has been the subject of an old fashioned, left-wing coup, in which all the key posts have been taken by supporters of the leader and any opposition or dissent is systematically and vigorously stamped out.

Jeremy Corbyn is in the process of turning his party into a vacuous talking shop, in which those of like-minded opinion can expound their views without the inconvenience of having to justify them to anyone who lives in the real world. Quite why he thinks this is a recipe for electoral victory, or, more importantly, is in any way in the best interests of the country is far from clear. Sadly, the latter appears to be of little concern to him, and he seems to believe that the former will be delivered by the shambolic excuse we have for a government. Unfortunately for Jeremy Corbyn, the Tories and the DUP hate him more than they hate each other and will, consequently, not allow an election to happen before 2022, come what may. The sooner he and the few sensible people that remain in his party realise this, the better.

Ian Richards
Birmingham

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