Anger Over Wimbledon Ban Is Seriously Misplaced

Victoria Azarenka Wimbledon
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Cries of unfairness rang out across the tennis world when news broke of the Wimbledon ban on Russian and Belarusian tennis players. Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Viktoria Azarenka, and Aryna Sabalenka are among the stars who won’t step on the exalted grass of Wimbledon this summer as a result of Russia’s Ukraine invasion.

Is the outrage justified?

It might be, but the anger is seriously misplaced. Every single morsel of exasperation should be channeled directly at Vladimir Putin.

Life is not always fair, and war is hell.

Ask Ted Williams. One of the greatest players in baseball history had to stop playing at his peak for three-plus years because a madman was committing state-sponsored mass murder and invading other countries. Were fans happy about it? No. Was Williams happy about it? Hell no. He tried to delay enlisting in the military.

History has a way of interrupting the fun. Tennis is a luxury. We cannot go on with our lives pretending a superpower isn’t killing innocent people in a neighboring country, with the threat of nuclear weapons lingering in the air. We’ll need to channel some of the passion for our favorite players toward a burning desire for an end to the war in Ukraine.

Ted Williams did join the Navy, became a skilled pilot, served his country admirably, and eventually returned to baseball. Medvedev, Rublev, Azarenka and company will return to tennis after the Wimbledon ban.

Just like you and I, the people in charge of Wimbledon are empathetic, frustrated human beings thinking, “What can I do?” and “How can I stop this?” What if you had the power to do more than putting a Ukrainian flag emoji on your Twitter avatar? What if you had the power to ding Putin just a little bit more for his actions? Wouldn’t you do it?

Main Photo from Getty.