A former Olympic rower from Winnipeg says she's happy to hear the man who accused women tennis players of riding "on the coattails of the men" in the game has resigned.
"That's great," said Sandy Kirby, a former member of Team Canada's Olympic team.
Raymond Moore announced his resignation as tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open Monday night after making the comments at a news conference in California over the weekend. Moore also used the term "lady players" and said they should "go down every night on their knees and thank God Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were born."
Elite players Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka publicly criticized Moore, as did executives from the men's and women's tours.
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Kirby, a former pro athlete who has dedicated her career to eradicating sexual harassment and abuse, said Moore's comments shocked her, and she thinks resigning was the right thing for him to do.
"Normally people screen themselves better. Even if they have these attitudes, they tend not to display them in public," Kirby said, adding it's bizarre that someone holding those attitudes could make it as far as Moore did without losing his job sooner.
"What is surprising is that he held a position at that tournament … as the man in charge," she said.
The tournament itself had been boycotted by the Williams sisters for close to the last 10 years out of concerns about racism in the stands, Kirby said, and the latest controversy doesn't bode well for officials who have been working to restore the tournament's image.
Tennis has been a leader in pro sports in terms of establishing pay equality and having tournaments where men and women have equal profile in the press, Kirby said.
"I thought tennis had found that really good mix," Kirby said. "And then ... you find comments like this."
Some observers have characterized Moore's comments as politically incorrect, Kirby said, which she thinks misses the point.
"They're not politically incorrect, they're wrong," she said. "They're sexist. They show a position of unequalness, where they don't see men and women as equal.… It's an uninformed position; it's an 'old boy' position."
Kirby said it's important to take away something positive from this controversy and Moore's resignation. Coaches and directors need to be as egalitarian, honest, progressive and respectful as possible, because they set an example for the athletes they manage, she said.
"Those who put on these tournaments and those who manage sport … they have to be the best people they know how to be when they're leading sport," she said. "Sport demands the most from you as an athlete. It also should demand the most of you as a tournament director, for example."