Serena Williams, who has indisputably been the most dominant player in women’s tennis for the past two decades, recently learned that she has been drug tested far more frequently than any of her opponents and even more frequently than most male tennis players. This fact logically raised the issue of discrimination.
Williams has been subjected to all types of discrimination, from attacks on her physical appearance to sexism to racism, throughout her career in the sport of tennis. So it would come as no surprise that Williams would be sensitive to yet another way in which she has been subjected to discrimination.
Williams called out the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for its discriminatory drug testing policies via Twitter in a message published on July 24, 2018.
…and it’s that time of the day to get “randomly” drug tested and only test Serena. Out of all the players it’s been proven I’m the one getting tested the most. Discrimination? I think so. At least I’ll be keeping the sport clean #StayPositive
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) July 25, 2018
“And it’s that time of the day to get ‘randomly’ drug tested and only test Serena,” Williams tweeted. “Out of all the players it’s been proven I’m the one getting tested the most. Discrimination? I think so. At least I’ll be keeping the sport clean.”
Williams is not imagining the discrimination in drug testing. And USADA is not trying to hide it. In fact, discrimination is a feature of USADA’s anti-doping policies. USADA is proud of it. And USADA publicly celebrates the effectiveness of its brazenly discriminatory policies.
Williams thinks it would only be fair if USADA randomly selected athletes for steroid testing. She believes USADA should “just test everyone equally”. Unfortunately, USADA is not interested in being fair. It is more interested in catching steroid users.
In the interest of catching athletes who use prohibited performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), USADA has purposely abandoned any semblance of political correctness. It openly profiles athletes on several variables in order to target specific athletes for more frequent testing in order to increase the chances of catching them using steroids.
USADA does not really like to use terms like discrimination or profiling to describe its anti-doping approach. USADA prefers to describe its policy as an “intelligent” out-of-competition testing program with “targeted” testing.
When Williams accuses USADA of discrimination, she is 100% correct.
Williams is profiled due to her physical appearance. USADA has suspicions about athletes, particularly women, who are too strong and too muscular. It thinks they are more likely to be using steroids and/or other muscle-building drugs.
Williams is also profiled due to her decades-long dominance in the sport. USADA has suspicions about athletes who are simply too good. It thinks athletes who are so incredibly dominant in a sport for such a long period of time are more likely to take advantage of some pharmaceutical assistance.
If Williams expects USADA to apologize for its discriminatory practices, she will be waiting an awfully long time. Discrimination is the key to the future success of drug testing according to USADA. Who knows? USADA might even start testing athletes more frequently when they become more vocal and critical of the USADA anti-doping program. Discrimination is a slippery slope.