Screening Serena

Screening Serena
Screening Serena
Shanique Blake | 2018 - July to September | USA
Shanique Blake considers the impact of drug-testing on black sportswomen.

Tennis fans from all over the world relished the return of Serena Williams to the Wimbledon games of 2018. The seven times’ Wimbledon champion has played only seven matches since returning to competition, after a 14-month break to have her first baby, and did not disappoint fans as she stormed her way through five matches in order to reach the final - only for the title to go to her competitor Angelique Kerber. 

However, many spectators were not aware that Williams had been tested five times already while other American women players were tested no more than twice by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Williams herself has stated multiple times that she is not against drug screening, as its purpose is to make the game she loves fair for all. What did surprise the past Wimbledon champion was when a drug tester turned up at her Florida home at 8.30 am, which was outside the time she had told the authorities that she would be available for testing each day. She was not at home at the time, but the USADA drug-tester refused to leave. 

On the surface it would seem that the drug agency was only doing its job, but one must wonder if this is a blatant case of discrimination. It opens up the debate of how black players are constantly looked upon with suspicion in the sporting world - no matter if they prove their worth time and time again. Yes, I do agree that drug screening is a necessary process for any competitive sport but why subjugate one player to be tested more compared to their counterparts? 

If the purpose of drug testing is to achieve an end result where all players enter on an equal footing then it would only be fair if everyone is tested the same amount of time. I fear the long-term ramification of such a practice is that it would become a deterrent for any young sporting star who may feel they run the risk of discrimination due to how they look. Not only would this a loss for the great game, but a loss to future audiences too.