Serena Williams has not yet given birth. However, her unborn child has already become a topic of controversy.
Ilie Nastase, a two-time Grand Slam tennis champion in the 70’s, said of Williams’ unborn child, “Let’s see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?”
Williams’ husband Alexis Ohanian is white, and Williams is black. Williams posted a message expressing her disappointment with Nastase’s comments:
Nicknamed “Nasty” during his playing days, for his antics on the tennis court, Nastase has quite a habit of stirring the pot. Though, he doesn’t see any racism in his comments about Williams’ baby. Instead, Nastase asked the AP, “I want to know, what word I used is racist?”
Nastase, a 70-year-old Romanian, made the comments at the Fed Cup, prior to Romania’s match against Great Britain. According to ESPN, Nastase’s comments about Williams’ unborn child were by no means the only controversial comments made by Nastase that weekend:
…Nastase is said to have made British captain Anne Keothavong uncomfortable by asking for her room number on more than one occasion during the lead-up to the matches between the two countries.
On Saturday, Nastase harassed a chair umpire before appearing to lob obscenities at members of the Great Britain delegation. His comments led to his ejection from the match between Romania’s Sorana Cirstea and Britain’s Johanna Konta, who left the match in tears. He was also suspended by the International Tennis Federation, which runs the Fed Cup, but said he doesn’t believe the punishment fits the crime.
“It was crazy, it was crazy,” Nastase told the AP of his suspension, though he did concede, “Yes, I lost my temper.”
What’s strange is that Williams felt the need to respond to this at all. There’s nothing overtly racist about what Nastase said, though it is pretty overtly weak and unfunny. Whether Nastase is racist or not, he’s clearly a loon, and prone to saying a lot of really weird things.
So, why amplify the mindless babble of a rowdy, Romanian septuagenarian by addressing it?
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn