A picture of Novak Djokovic standing with his hands up as friend and fellow tennis player Janko Tipsarevic points a gun at him was posted, then quickly taken down, from Tipsarevic's Facebook page on Thursday. It was accompanied by the caption: "How much $$$ would Rafa gief... ;)." (We'll assume he meant "give.")
As one Busted Racquet reader wrote, this looks like Djokovic's first bad idea of the season.
There are funny and creative ways to joke around on social media sites while toeing the line of good taste. This picture does none of those things. If the gun was fake*, it's a tasteless joke that makes the crucial mistake of being unfunny. If the gun was real, it's a breathtakingly bad decision on every level.
* I'm assuming, and hoping, it's fake.
The caption is more bothersome. The world No. 1 was part of a joke in which his friend (and fellow player) kids about killing him for a bounty from the No. 2 player in the world. There's a culture gap between Serbia and the United States, sure, but that can't be kosher in any country.
In other sports, that behavior would merit a suspension and a collective freakout from the sports media. (Imagine if Dwyane Wade and LeBron James were in the photo and Kobe Bryant was mentioned in the caption. I'm pretty sure Skip Bayless would spontaneously combust.) In tennis, it may not merit much attention.
That wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Too many minor incidents in sports get blown out of proportion and snowball out of control thanks to an endless news cycle that needs feeding. Djokovic and Tipsarevic screwed up and deserve to be criticized for their bad joke gone awry. Leave it at that.