I've never seen Mary Carillo as anything but a commentator who covers the sport with insight and wit and as much objectivity as she can muster when certain players aren't on the court. I've defended her around the Internet for years against accusations of ineptitude and far worse. When it comes to Serena Williams, I've found her criticism a bit acidic, but fair, giving her the benefit of my doubt, if I had any doubt about her feelings at all.
Tonight, she crossed a line.
She actually said from the broadcast booth that the world No. 1 and defending Australian Open champion is trying to start a gender war and that she got away with threatening murder.
I spit out my tea.
This from an analyst who doesn't understand that having the best serve and having the best service games won statistics are two different measures of ability and execution. One's an opinion, the other, a quantifiable fact.
Serena committed no crime, Mary Carillo. She wasn't arrested and charged. She wasn't handcuffed or dragged out of Arthur Ashe stadium in shackles.
Pam Shriver came armed and ready, as though she knew Mary would take her rant to another level during Serena's second-round match. Sounded like Pam read from a page, bringing facts to the table and let her colleague and all of us know that no man in the NFL who had an actual physical altercation with an official was fined more than $25,000.
Mary Carillo has driven fans away from tonight's broadcast because they didn't want to hear any more of her slanderous vitriol.
ESPN, do the sport a favor and fire Mary Carillo. And if you can't or won't do that, then ban her from calling another Serena Williams match for the rest of her tenure with your corporation.
I had intended this only as an open letter venting, but a reader suggested I post the ESPN contact link here for anyone who wants to send them a complaint. If you prefer snail mail, their corporate address is:
545 Middle St
Bristol, CT 06010
Thursday, January 21, 2010