THE BLOG
03/22/2012 01:29 pm ET Updated May 22, 2012

Michael Llodra and Southern Mississipi, a Lesson in Racism in Sports

Alex Barlow was watching a tennis match at the Paribas Open tournament at Indian Wells, CA when French tennis player Michael Llodra called her a "Chinese whore."

Six days later, Kansas State point guard Angel Rodriguez was about to shoot a free throw against Southern Mississippi during the first day of the men's NCAA basketball tournament, when that school's band started chanting "Where's your green card?"

The school announced that five members of the pep band have been kicked off and had their scholarship revoked. These same students will have to complete a two hour cultural sensitive training course this week.

Is the substance shocking, or is it that the people who publicly uttered these phrases didn't feel the least bit self-conscious about saying them aloud? In each case, the offendee didn't seem worried enough about repercussions to re-think what was being said.

"I'm disappointed in the response, of him (Llodra) and the ATP," said Barlow. Published reports say Llodra has been fined $2500 for the racist outburst. Emails to tournament director Steve Simon requesting further details of Llodra's account and the tournaments response have not been returned.

Barlow, her husband and brother are huge tennis fans. "I love watching tennis." Barlow said the Paribas tournament is the most local major tournament within a reasonable range of Oakland. She, her husband and brother actually plan their vacation around the tournament.

It's something they've been doing for nearly eight years. Imagine planning for a vacation and thinking you're about to do something you love and relax, only to be hit over the head with, "Chinese whore." And for what?

Barlow says Llodra seemed to be getting frustrated with his game. He first started muttering to himself, then the ball boys and then took out his frustrations on her. Barlow said she was pulling for Llodra's opponent Ernests Gulbis of Latvia. Not routing against Llodra, but routing for Gulbis.

That apparently lit Llordra's fuse.

"At one point, looking straight into my eyes, I heard French. I wasn't paying attention but others said it was directed toward me. Then he said it a second time, this time in English, 'effen Chinese something.' Barlow said others who speak French told her what Llodra said the first time.

Llodra wasn't done. He revived his game enough to hit a winner, which silenced Barlow and those routing for Gulbis. Again, Llodra turned to Barlow. This time he said, "You're crying, you should be crying, you're all "_hit."

Llodra went on to win the match, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (3).

Barlow said tournament director Simon apologized personally, and has tried to be accommodating. He even said he tried to get Llodra to come into a tournament office and call Barlow to apologize. It didn't happen.

Barlow, who is not Chinese, said the lack of an official statement from the tournament and the measly fine doesn't send a strong enough message. "Unless they come out forcefully, it's just going to continue."

The fact that this is still happening says the last person who pulled something like this only got a slap on the wrist.

This incident and the incident that is keeping the Williams sisters from ever playing at Indian Wells again are different but both racially related.

In 2001, Venus pulled out of a semi-final match against sister Serena because of an injury. The crowd booed lustily, and booed Serena during the final. Richard Williams alleged racist taunts from the crowd.

The Indian Wells women's tournament is a mandatory event. The Williams' were fined for not playing, lost pool money from the event and the lack of points could have lowered their rankings.

It's not clear how much effort went into substantiating and then punishing those responsible for the alleged taunts.

Barlow points out that some have compared what happened to Llodra (virtually nothing) to what happened to Serena at the 2009 U.S. Open.

Serena verbally abused a lineswoman during the final, and since she already had had a warning, Serena was given a point penalty. Unfortunately for her, it was match point, and Serena lost the semi-final to Kim Clijsters. Serena was fined $82,500. Barlow said friends have noted that Serena got severely punished and the white guy got a slap on the wrist. For calling a fan a Chinese whore, Llodra had to pony-up a whopping $2500.

A Chinese reporter actually caught up with Llodra following the match. He defended himself against charges he was racist by saying, "I love Chinese -- I can totally make love with a Chinese girl."

The conservative moment in this country doesn't want racism to be settled unless settled means going back to the 'good ole days.' While some Southern Mississippi band members were asking an 18-year-old kid, "where's your green card, " the Mississippi State Legislature was passing one of those right-wing, draconian immigration laws.

Seeming to follow the legislature's suit, the Southern Mississippi band started trying to enforce the bill, by chanting "where's your green card," even before it became law. Ironically, what the band did by asking for a green card from an American citizen is the strongest argument against such laws.

University president Martha Saunders issued this statement, "We deeply regret the remarks made by a few students at today's game. The words of these individuals do not represent the sentiments of our pep band, athletic department or university. We apologize to Mr. Rodriguez and will take quick and appropriate disciplinary action against the students involved in this isolated incident."

Following the game the interim athletic director stopped by the Kansas State hotel to apologize in person. At a news conference the next day, Rodriguez graciously accepted the apology saying, "I accepted it because there's ignorant people and I know that's not how they want to represent their university. I moved on already. I've got a game to focus on."

The problem is that the people who say these things haven't moved on. They will only move on to the next minority and not the next step of social evolution.