Fresh off her landmark triumph at the French Open, Serena Williams is garnering attention for the wrong reasons.
The 31-year-old tennis star made insensitive remarks about the victim in the widely publicized Steubenville rape case that appear in an upcoming issue of Rolling Stone. During an interview with Rolling Stone contributor Stephen Rodrick, a television news segment prompted Williams to discuss the case involving the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl by high school football players.
"Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don't know. I'm not blaming the girl, but if you're a 16-year-old and you're drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don't take drinks from other people," Williams said to Rodrick. "She's 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn't remember? It could have been much worse. She's lucky. Obviously, I don't know, maybe she wasn't a virgin, but she shouldn't have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that's different."
After sharing her remarks on the Steubenville case, Rodrick noted that "Serena's Hannity-like take on the case isn't her only rightward lean." He attributed her "no-safety-net political philosophy" to her childhood in Compton.
CLICK HERE to read the entire piece at Rolling Stone
Deadspin excerpted the portion of the lengthy profile that contained Williams' Steubenville commentary on Tuesday, triggering a wave of backlash on social media directed at the 16-time Grand Slam champion.
Pro tip for @serenawilliams or others discussing rape: if "I'm not blaming the girl, but…" exits your mouth, stop there. There is no "but."— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) June 18, 2013
For the first time ever, I'm really disappointed in Serena Williams http://t.co/P4xWM0QyPe— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) June 18, 2013
By your words, @serenawilliams, you aligned yourself with rapists today and crushed victims everywhere. I truly hope you right your wrong.— K. Potts (@afbwoman) June 18, 2013
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Serena Williams says in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine that, while not blaming the victim in the Steubenville rape case, "she shouldn't have put herself in that position."
The comment is made in one paragraph of a lengthy story posted online Tuesday about Williams, a 16-time Grand Slam title winner who is ranked No. 1 heading into Wimbledon, which starts next week.
Two players from the celebrated Steubenville, Ohio, high school football team were convicted in March of raping a drunken 16-year-old girl; one of the boys was ordered to serve an additional year for photographing the girl naked. The case gained widespread attention in part because of the callousness with which other students used social media to gossip about it.
According to the Rolling Stone story, Williams says the perpetrators of the crime "did something stupid," and she asks: "Do you think it was fair, what they got?"
She adds, "I'm not blaming the girl, but if you're a 16-year-old and you're drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don't take drinks from other people."
And Williams also is quoted as saying: "... she shouldn't have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that's different."
Williams is in England preparing for Wimbledon.
Her agent, who also is in England, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday night.