Their view: Jocks behaving badly

Eleven weeks after her profanity-laced tirade against a line judge at the U.S. Open, tennis star Serena Williams has been fined $82,500 by the International Tennis Federation. One more outburst like that, and she’ll be banned from playing in future Grand Slam events – which would hurt the ITF a lot more than it would hurt Williams, which is why the ITF didn’t go there on the first offense, we’re sure. In tennis, this sort of freebie is called a “let.”

In golf, it’s called a “mulligan,” but more on that later.

Williams’ tantrum, in which she shook her racquet menacingly and hurled F-bombs at a judge who called a foot fault, cost her the match. But she still collected $350,000 for making it to the semifinal before being disqualified. Serendipitously, her on-court meltdown dovetailed with the release of an ad campaign by her new sponsor, Tampax. (Your punch line goes here.)

We’re trying to think of a similar marketing opportunity to redeem the travails of Tiger Woods, who has been in PR hell ever since he backed over a fire hydrant while fleeing his own driveway at 2:25 a.m. Friday. The world’s most famous athlete declared the episode “a private matter” and refused to talk to the news media or the police. He withdrew from this week’s Chevron World Challenge, citing injuries, but everyone knew he was just ducking reporters. The man won golf’s U.S. Open with a broken leg, remember? He’s not going to scratch because he bumped his chin on the steering wheel in his driveway.

Of course there was more to the story. By Wednesday, UsWeekly magazine had scored a scoop with a Los Angeles cocktail waitress who says she had an affair with Woods dating back to 2007. Jaimee Grubbs, whose previous claim to fame was a relationship with a contestant on the reality show “Tool Academy,” says she has 300 text messages – and one damning voice mail – to document her dalliance with Woods.

That’s on top of last week’s National Enquirer story alleging a relationship between Woods and a New York bar hostess.

This is pretty seedy stuff for a guy whose fresh-scrubbed image launched a thousand endorsement deals. But somehow we don’t think he’s fretting too much about that. Raise your hand, guys, if you’re suddenly disinclined to buy Woods’ stuff. We thought not.

There won’t be any fallout from the Florida Highway Patrol either. The cops issued a $164 ticket for careless driving and closed their investigation. Mulligan? Don’t believe it.

Anyone who thinks he got off easy is forgetting what happened to the rear windows of his SUV.

The above editorial was originally published Dec. 3 by the Chicago Tribune. Content was made available by