Tag Archives: tournament

CEO quits after sexist comments about women tennis pros

The tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open who said women’s pro tennis players “ride on the coattails of the men” resigned on March 21, ending his 29-year association with the event.

Tournament owner Larry Ellison said in a statement that Raymond Moore was quitting as chief executive officer and tournament director of the $7 million event featuring men’s and women’s players in the California desert. Moore informed Ellison of his decision when they spoke earlier in the day.

“Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and tournament director effective immediately,” Ellison said. “I fully understand his decision.”

A tournament spokesman could offer no further details on Moore’s resignation, citing only Ellison’s statement.

CEO apologizes

Moore apologized after he was roundly criticized by executives from the women’s and men’s pro tours, players Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka and on social media for his comments Sunday.

The 69-year-old former touring pro from South Africa had been CEO of the tournament since 2012. He was involved with the event for 29 years as a former owner and managing partner before assuming his most recent post. He oversaw the operations of the tournament and the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, which Ellison also owns. Years ago, Moore and fellow ex-player Charlie Pasarell started PM Sports Management, which oversaw the tournament as it expanded.

“In my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA because they ride on the coattails of the men. They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky,” Moore said. “If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport.”

He also referred to women’s players as “physically attractive and competitively attractive.” Moore later apologized, calling his comments “in extremely poor taste and erroneous.”

“I am truly sorry for those remarks, and apologize to all the players and WTA as a whole,” the statement said. “We had a women’s final today that reflects the strength of the players, especially Serena and Victoria, and the entire WTA. Again, I am truly sorry for my remarks.”

Moore clearly had no intention to leave his post based on comments he made to reporters Sunday on the last day of the two-week tournament. Before the backlash over his controversial comments began, he was asked how long he planned to remain in charge.

“Firstly, I love what I’m doing. I’m passionate about it. I enjoy it,” Moore said. “Who knows who the face of the tournament will be down the road. But I don’t think that, oh, I’m going to stop next year or three years.”

Ellison, a billionaire and co-founder of Oracle Corp., credited Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Serena and Venus Williams, as well as other female athletes, for their leadership in treating women and men equally in sports.

“I’m proud to say that it is now a decade-long tradition at our tournament at Indian Wells, and all the major tennis tournaments, to pay equal prize money to both the women and the men,” Ellison said in his statement.

Ellison thanked the “great women athletes” who fought so hard in pursuit of equal prize money in pro tennis.

“All of us here at the BNP Paribas Open promise to continue working with everyone to make tennis a better sport for everybody,” he said.

Statement from the tennis tournament

“Earlier today I had the opportunity to speak with Raymond Moore,” said BNP Paribas Open Owner, Larry Ellison. “Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and Tournament Director effective immediately. I fully understand his decision.”

“Nearly half a century ago, Billie Jean King began her historic campaign for the equal treatment of women in tennis. What followed is an ongoing, multi-generational, progressive movement to treat women and men in sports equally. Thanks to the leadership of Billie Jean, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams and so many other great women athletes, an important measure of success has already been achieved. I’m proud to say that it is now a decade long tradition at our tournament at Indian Wells, and all the major tennis tournaments, to pay equal prize money to both the women and the men.”

“I would like to personally thank all the great women athletes who fought so hard for so many years in the pursuit of equal prize money in professional tennis. And I’d like to congratulate them on their success. All of us here at the BNP Paribas Open promise to continue working with everyone to make tennis a better sport for everybody,” concluded Ellison.

On Wisconsin: A great win has to be followed by another

The scene will bring smiles to many for a long time. Players chest-bumping and hugging. Fans on the fringe of delirium. A celebration perfect for highlight reels and posters.

It has to end in a hurry, though. There’s another game to be played.

Wisconsin has joined the list of teams which won a game of historical proportions only to be faced with a game that will decide how great the magnitude of the event will be.

The Badgers beat Kentucky 71-64 on Saturday night, ending the Wildcats’ pursuit of an unbeaten season and avenging a bitter loss in last year’s national semifinals.

Now, they face Duke on Monday night — 8 p.m. — for Wisconsin’s first national championship in 74 years. If the Badgers can’t find a way to beat the Blue Devils — a team they lost to by 10 points at home in December — how will the upset of the top-ranked Wildcats be remembered?

“We know we’ve got 40 more (minutes), as I’ve said a thousand times,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said Sunday. “But we know we’ve got some work to do. I think last night’s game simply says, `OK, it puts you in position now to go after the championship.'”

Two teams that managed the great win only to have to follow it up days later with the game that decides a place in history.

Duke, the team that is trying to throw a wrench into Wisconsin’s dream weekend, faced the same situation in 1991, in the same city.

The Blue Devils beat UNLV, another team seeking the perfect season, in the national semifinals. The year before, the Runnin’ Rebels beat Duke by 30 points in the title game. The Blue Devils celebrated as the soon as the buzzer sounded. Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill were on the court enjoying a moment for a lifetime when reality set in in the form or coach Mike Krzyzewski.

He ran onto the court moving his arms in a “knock it off” motion. There was a title game against Kansas to be played in less than 48 hours.

“When you win a Final Four game, no matter who you beat, it’s huge,” said Krzyzewski, who is looking for his fifth national championship. “And we’re all human beings. You have to fight human nature of wanting to stay in that moment for a little bit longer before moving on to the next moment.”

It’s not just basketball either.

In 1980, in one of sports’ moments frozen in time, when an entire country confirmed it did believe in miracles, the U.S. Olympic hockey team stunned the world by beating the vaunted Soviet Union in Lake Placid, New York. The celebration of an entire team throwing their sticks and jumping onto a pile in front of the net is frozen in time. But the United States wasn’t done. They had to beat Finland two days later. A win meant a gold medal. A loss meant no medal, not even a bronze.

Ryan knows all about that from a player who starred on the team that had been humiliated by the Soviets just weeks before at Madison Square Garden.

“Mark Johnson is the women’s hockey coach at the University of Wisconsin. Won a lot of national championships. Great, great teacher, great coach,” he said. “I was reminded – I can’t tell you by how many people, `Hey, Bo, in 1980, you know after we beat Russia, we had to beat Finland.’ I don’t know a lot about hockey, but I knew about the `80 team. I said, `You know what, you’re right.’ Most people think that Russia was the gold medal game. I think it was Finland, wasn’t it? I’ve been reminded on a few text messages that Finland is Duke, both really good teams. Duke is a really good team. I think Finland was a good team because they got to the finals.”

Krzyzewski said it’s important to make sure the players stay grounded. The anecdotes flow from 24 years ago about Krzyzewski yelling at the team for the way they approached the Sunday practice, that they had already won something besides a semifinal game.

“It wasn’t just the emotion in the locker room. I thought we handled that well,” Krzyzewski said. “It was the emotion in the hotel, where our fans were literally delirious. It was so packed, they were right next to you. They didn’t think we would beat Vegas. We were the ones who thought we could beat Vegas. We had to make sure we didn’t go into their environment, into their place.”

On Saturday night Wisconsin faced the same problem when the Badgers returned to their hotel. What seemed like thousands of red-clad “Cheeseheads” were waiting in the lobby and anywhere else there was room for a few more people.

“You know you have to forget about the one you just played,” Ryan said. “The only thing that’s going to help you for that next game is what you learned for the 40 minutes during that (previous) game. Today, when we’re at practice, they’ll be reminded about a few things from last night, but it will be how we can get better.”

And how you can make a run at history complete. Duke had Kansas 24 years ago. The United States had Finland in 1980. On Monday night, Wisconsin faces Duke.

A win would mean a place in college basketball history. A loss would mean a win for the ages becomes a footnote.

Volleyball tournament set for PrideFest

The Open Grass PrideFest Volleyball Tournament is set to take place June 9-10 at the Milwaukee Summerfest grounds.

The tournament will include competition inside and on the outside lawns of the PrideFest festival grounds at Henry Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Drive, Milwaukee.

The tournament, open to the public in recreational and competitive divisions, is coordinated by the Milwaukee Gay Volleyball Association and Milwaukee GAMMA.

The registration fee is $210 per team of six players. Up to two additional players can be added to a team for $35 per player.

The registration – due by May 30 – includes tournament fees, a Friday-Sunday pass to PrideFest Milwaukee, a welcome bag of goodies, tournament T-shirt, admission to a kickoff event and trophies for winning teams.

Organizers are planning to host 200 players on six grass courts, with teams arriving from throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

Last year 16 teams participated in the tournament.

For more, go to www.milwaukeegayvolleyball.com or call Jim Lautenbach at 414-248-0969.

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