Tennis Tournament CEO Resigns After Saying He Would Thank God For Men If He Was a "Lady Player"

An apology is not enough.

The CEO of the site of the BNP Paribas Open that ended Sunday resigned from his position Monday night due to the widespread outrage that followed sexist comments he made against female athletes in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA).

Raymond Moore, 69, was the former CEO of Indian Wells Tennis Garden. He was asked in an interview about his thoughts on the WTA and his words were quite clear, leaving little room for interpretation.

"No, I think the WTA — you know, in my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA [laughter] because they ride on coattails of the men. They don't make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky," Moore said.

He added, "If I was a lady player, I'd go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport. They really have." In the interview he went on to credit Williams for most of the association's success and said other "attractive" players will carry the association forward when she retires as an athlete.

Needless to say Moore subsequently apologized for his comments calling them "extremely erroneous" and "in poor taste" before resigning just one day after his sexist remarks. 

Larry Ellison, owner of Indian Wells Tennis Garden, recently said, "I fully understand his decision," in response to Moore's resignation.

In recent news coverage Ellison also touted that both women and men have been awarded equal prize money at Indian Wells major tennis tournaments for a decade. Though Moore's rapid resignation proves equal prize money is no substitute for inappropriate behavior and there are real consequences for sexism offensive to every woman on this planet.

We were inspired by the way champion tennis player Serena Williams handled the crude remarks, both challenging blatant sexism and pointing to female athletes who have made their mark on sports history. And many have discussed and applauded her powerful response on social media.


***ESPNW WEEKLY 20 Qs ALERT*** This week was utter madness but nothing got me going more than Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore's sexist remarks about "lady players" riding the coattails of men and female tennis players needing to get on their knees every day to thank God for male players like Roger Federer. Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka bossed up and clapped back accordingly.Click the link in my bio to read what they said, my reaction, and other WTF , LOL , and OMG top sports moments of the week (Link's also in the bio). #espnw #indianwells #serenawilliams #espn #marchmadness #ncaatournament #nfl #nba #mlb

A photo posted by Shana Renee (@itsshanarenee) on

Williams said Moore's comments were offensive and dismissed the accuracy of his comments while noting that both male and female athletes are exciting to watch. "…We, as women, have come a long way. We shouldn't have to drop to our knees at any point," she later added. 

She then pointed to tennis champion and MAKER Billie Jean King, who in 1973 defeated Bobby Riggs in a memorable match often referenced as the "Battle of the Sexes."

"I mean, you look at someone like Billie Jean King who opened so many doors for not only women’s players but women athletes in general. So I feel like that is such a disservice to her and every female, not only a female athlete but every woman on this planet that has ever tried to stand up for what they believed in and being proud to be a woman."

King also jumped in to support Williams on Twitter.

We hope the words of female leaders in sports like Serena Williams and Billie Jean King will inspire girls to stand up for equal rights, treatment and respect for their accomplishments in every sector.

NEXT: Billie Jean King: Dealing With High Pressure »

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