Is there a double standard in tennis where women get penalized more than men? According to a New York Times study, there is not. End of discussion, right? We can all move on.
Turns out, some statistics can be misleading. Serena Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian Sr., took the Times to task Sunday, laying out some of the errors he found in their study of whether women are actually punished more than men in tennis.
E.g. If men were punished 344 times out of 3440 audible obscenities (10% enforcement), but women were punished 140 times out of 700 audible obscenities (20% enforcement) — that would mean women are penalized 2x more often than men for the same violation.
— Alexis Ohanian Sr. 🚀 (@alexisohanian) September 16, 2018
Ohanian explained that the study performed by the New York Times only focused on the amount of penalties handed out. It did not focus on the “per incident” data. He then used an example based on percentages. Are women punished at a higher percentage than men for the same incidents? That, according to Ohanian, was the point of Serena Williams’ comments. That specific data was not covered in the New York Times’ study.
The New York Times performed the study after Williams said she believed male tennis players have done worse on the court and received less severe punishments. Williams made those comments after an argument with a judge led to a $17,000 fine and a surprising loss in the U.S. Open.
Just in case you think Ohanian is a biased source, statistician Nate Silver of 538 agreed with Ohanian’s interpretation of the New York Times’ study.
The study doesn't show that. It shows that male players are fined more, but that could be because they misbehave more. (Indeed, from watching a fair bit of tennis, the men do misbehave more). This data doesn't tell us anything about whether they're punished at greater rates. https://t.co/vJYoKNMzYQ
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) September 15, 2018
After tweeting at the author of the piece a couple times, Ohanian decided to focus his efforts in a more positive manner. He donated $10 for every word in the article to Donors Choose in order to “make sure the next generation gets access to learn basic statistics.”
– – – – – – –
More from Yahoo Sports:
• ‘Completely disrespectful’: Bills player retires at halftime
• Rams player arrested on DUI charge shortly after Sunday’s win
• LeBron rips Browns kicker: ‘Are you kidding me man’
• Which 0-2 team is the NFL’s most desperate?