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Serena Williams Alleges Discrimination

July 30th, 2018 Victoria Breese

Serena Williams, once the top women’s tennis player in the world, recently alleged that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has discriminated against her. It’s no secret that professional sports players are randomly drug tested to ensure that no athlete has an unfair advantage due to performance-enhancing substances. However, ever since her return to tennis following the birth of her daughter, Alexis, Serena claims that USADA testers have shown up at her house at all times of the day. Serena has said that they’ve even shown up for testing during times that she said she was unavailable. These events, coupled with her claim that she is tested far more than other tennis players, are the basis for her discrimination allegation. USADA communications director Brad Horn said that Serena’s testing has been “standard practice,” although Serena believes that she is being singled out.

Serena’s Reaction to Unfair Treatment

Serena recently sent out a number of tweets explaining the abnormal drug testing and her feelings about it. She demonstrated how often she gets tested when she said, “And……  just like that anti doping is here ….again… second time this week. proud to participate to keep the sport clean. Even if they do test me at my current ranking of 454 in the world. Two times every week.” In the face of this apparent unfair treatment, Serena remains positive. She optimistically tweeted that she is “ready to do whatever it takes to have a clean sport so bring it on. I’m excited.” Serena has previously stated that she does not have a problem with drug testing if all players are tested equally. The fact that she openly talks about how much she gets tested provides more proof that she is not doping. Someone who actually was taking illegal substances would not likely draw attention to themselves regarding drug testing.

Possible Legal Claims

Serena has not said whether or not she wishes to take legal action against this discrimination. In order for her to prove discrimination in court, she and her lawyers would have to show that she was treated unfairly as a member of a protected class. For example, one reason she may be tested more often is that she is much more muscular than other female tennis players. Testers may have speculated that her higher muscle mass could be due to illegal substances. While body type is not a protected class, race is a protected class. Untrue and exaggerated stereotypes about increased muscle mass and athletic advantages among African Americans have existed throughout history. Serena may have a discrimination claim in court if she is being tested more often because of these stereotypes. Additionally, her gender is a protected class. Our culture normalizes men having more muscle mass. However, drug testers may be wrongly distrustful of women with higher muscle mass. Unfair treatment at work based on race or gender is illegal. Why do you think that Serena would get tested more often than other players?

Seek a New York Attorney to Combat Discrimination

No one should receive unfair treatment at work due to factors like race, national origin, gender, disability, age, or sexual orientation. If you feel you have been wrongly discriminated against within the workplace, the Working Solutions Law Firm, located in New York City, can assist you. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.