Serena Williams claims she was misquoted in controversial Rolling Stone interview

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Serena Williams made some insensitive comments about the Steubenville rape case, which she is now claiming was a misquote.

Most of the article was your typical athlete profile with some vapid quotes thrown in, such as:

"Can you believe I've never been asked to host Saturday Night Live?" she says. "And I'm funny. Ask my friends."

But it was her quotes about the Steubenville rape case that caused immediate controversy with many latching onto her saying, "I'm not blaming the girl, but" and sharing her opinion on the situation.  Here's the quote from Rolling Stone:

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We watch the news for a while, and the infamous Steubenville rape case flashes on the TV – two high school football players raped a drunk 16-year-old, while other students watched and texted details of the crime. Serena just shakes her head. "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. 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."

Umm, yeah, so obivously not the most sensitive or compassionate thing to say, then again this is the woman who once threatened to shove a tennis ball down an official's throat when a call didn't go her way.

Williams released a statement today in which she offered an apology that went halfway in taking responsibility for the Rolling Stone quotes:

“What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened. For someone to be raped, and at only sixteen, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved – that of the rape victim and of the accused. I am currently reaching out to the girl’s family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written – what I supposedly said – is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.
 
I have fought all of my career for women’s equality, women’s equal rights, respect in their fields – anything I could do to support women I have done. My prayers and support always goes out to the rape victim. In this case, most especially, to an innocent sixteen year old child.”

Her word choice is interesting – "what I supposedly said." If she really was misquoted, why didn't she just say so? Why leave everyone guessing? Serena writes that she's deeply sorry for what was written, but never actually addresses what she was quoted as saying directly. It's just bizarre. It's possible she was genuinely trying to make sense of what happened in the interview and it came out in an insensitive way, but to apologize for "what was written" is going to satisfy nobody. We'll wait and see if Rolling Stone releases a tape or transcript of the full interview and responds to Serena.

[Rolling Stone]/[Serena Williams]

Reva Friedel

About Reva Friedel

Reva is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and the AP Party. She lives in Orange County and roots for zero California teams.

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