- By Cedric Golden American-Statesman Staff
Tom Herman the Arrogant. Has a bit of a ring to it, huh?
The Texas coach was asked at his Monday media availability about fans alleging that he’s an arrogant sort who doesn’t particularly like critical questions about poor play by his team. Herman never addressed the arrogance question, but did address Longhorn Nation.
“I love our fans,” Herman said. “Mack Brown told me when I got the job that this can be the greatest job in America because there’s tens of millions of people that care very passionately about what happens with their Longhorn football team — and it can be one that’s difficult too for the exact same reason, because there’s tens of millions of people. But at the end of the day, the expectations that are put on us from the outside are never going to meet or exceed the expectations that we put on ourselves.”
So is he arrogant?
Heck yeah, he is. So are 95 percent of the head coaches at major college programs. Is Nick Saban arrogant? Is Urban Meyer? They all are but they have also won national championships.
No one ever said any of those men have to be Mother Teresa, so if Herman is arrogant as some believe him to be, then he isn’t the first. Besides, if he turns things around, wins nine or 10 games this year and then competes for a national title in 2019, then the same fans who don’t like his demeanor now will fall in line like those in Tuscaloosa and Columbus.
After the most surreal women’s final in U.S. Open history, Serena Williams wore several hats: Angered former champion, angry mob manager, comforter of a young champion, and then women’s right activist.
Before we get to the heavy lifting, let’s take on umpire gate. If you didn’t hear, Williams was docked for three code violations in the championship match Japan’s Naomi Osaka, the latter costing her a game in which she was down a set and 3-4.
I believe Williams was unaware that the first warning — against her coach for illegal coaching from the stands — counted as part of the code violation. Slamming her racket was an obvious penalty. The third — for calling umpire Carlos Ramos a “thief” — cost her the game. Either way, her actions cost her a game.
After Serena charged Ramos for being sexist in his actions, the International Tennis Federation released a statement supporting the umpire. The U.S. Open, no stranger to controversy regarding the greatest women’s tennis player ever, also fined Williams $17,000 for the three offenses.
Here’s where tennis needs to progress. There is still a lot of sexism in the sport, from men being allowed to cuss like sailors at umpires and not be checked, to the joke of a policy which disallows coaching, from Rafael Nadal routinely violating the serving time limit, to the worst — a female player (Alize Cornet) being assessed a code violation for removing her shirt to change during a sweltering day at the Open. Cornet was wearing a sports bra, similar to the one Brandi Chastain wore when the U.S. women’s national team won the World Cup in 1999. Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic sat for at least 10 minutes with no shirt during a break in his semifinal without incident.
While I don’t agree with all of her actions in the final, Serena did have one point. It’s time to treat the women the same as the men, from how matches are officiated to drug testing the other 30-somethings as often as they drug test Williams, the most tested player in the sport for a second straight year.
Williams’ passion is what got her to the top of the game. Her passion has her back near the top after a pregnancy that nearly killed her. Ramos should have exercised a bit of restraint before he injected himself into the match, even if he was within the rules. He came across like a baseball umpire following an enraged manager to the dugout for the ejection.
“The WTA believes there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs. women and is committed to working with the sport to ensure all players are treated the same,” said WTA head Steve Simon. “We do not believe this was done last night.”
Williams remains the face of American tennis, Osaka just became a future star and outside of the prize money, tennis revealed itself to still be behind in the area of equality.
While free agent wideout Dez Bryant spent Sunday trolling his former employer, the Dallas Cowboys barely registered a pulse in a 16-8 loss to the Carolina Panthers. The running game was in tatters, there were no playmaking wideouts, Ezekiel Elliott didn’t get enough totes and the defense couldn’t corral Cam Newton when it mattered most.
What did I miss? Oh yeah, the new kicker isn’t Dan Bailey.