Without A Net

Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Serena Williams: Should an Olympic champion do the Crip Walk?

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Serena Williams has her haters, mostly because of stuff like this. But the outrage in the wake of Williams' "Crip Walk" celebration after winning the gold medal on Saturday is a little different. 

To rewind a bit, Williams crushed Maria Sharapova in London on Saturday to win her first single's Olymic Gold Medal. Immediately afterwards, she did this:

"What do you call that dance?" reporters asked afterwards. "The Wimbledon? The Serena?"

Er... no. As Williams did not tell the reporters (saying instead, "it's something we do in California") the dance is the C-Walk or Crip Walk, named after the legendary L.A. gang.

Members of the mediasphere, outside of the tennis press corps, that is, instantly scolded Williams, pointing out that the dance — which apparently was banned from Crenshaw High in 2002 — celebrates gang life. Others chimed in to defend the tennis star, who some say has been underappreciated her entire career. A sampling:

"You couldn't help but shake your head. It was as if Serena just couldn't seem to avoid dipping into waters of controversy even as she'd ascended to the top of her sport," said Fox Sports'  Reid Forgrave.

That's not how Clinton Yates, of the Washington Post sees it, though.

"Frankly, there was a certain part of me that loved what Williams did. It was one of those subtle moments of celebration that was inclusive and illustrative of her unique upbringing, no matter how complicated that upbringing may be to the outside world. What you saw Saturday in London on that grass court wasn’t a replication of the steps popularized by a group that terrorized urban communities for years — it was a small example of the cultural zenith that we’ve reached in certain circles. It showed us all just how far we’ve come and also, how far we have to go."

Jason Whitlock, Fox Sports' cut-the-crap columnist managed to find a third take on the controversy: Williams, he said, should have planned the dance in advance. 

"Saturday was Serena’s justifiable F-U revenge at Wimbledon," he wrote. "She was going to complete her Golden Slam and give the snobs at Wimbledon a taste of the Compton girl they fear. She tried to play the game Wimbledon’s way — practicing her curtsy years ago — and the old stodgy place rejected her. So, with the world watching and Venus giggling in the stands, Serena cracked a joke on Wimbledon. It was a mistake. It boomeranged into a joke on Serena."

Williams, meanwile, says she just doesn't care, and seems to mean it.

"I'm glad I did it," she told US Weekly.

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