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When a reporter asked Serena Williams on Saturday about the controversy surrounding the "Crip Walk" dance she performed after winning gold at the Olympics this month, she expertly brushed off the question by claiming she reads "zero press."
Only after a follow-up question later in her pre-U.S. Open news conference did Williams truly lose her temper.
Asked if she regretted celebrating with a dance made famous by gang members from her hometown of Compton decades ago, Williams insisted she wasn't familiar with the back story. Her response is at the 4:26 mark of the above video, which is a tad quiet and may require the volume to be cranked up to hear.
"First of all, it was just a dance," she said. "I didn't know that's what it was called. Second, why are you asking me that? Like that's so — I mean — if anything you should be trying to ask me questions to lift me up, not bring such things. I'm done with that question."
Before addressing Williams' snippy response, it's important to note that the initial uproar over her shout-out to her hometown was probably overblown. Maybe it was a little bit inappropriate to celebrate a gold medal with something associated with gang culture, but Williams' dance was certainly not glorifying or endorsing that lifestyle.
Nonetheless, that doesn't excuse Williams' habit of telling fibs during her press conferences.
Williams can't really expect us to believe she doesn't know the origins of a dance step that became popular in her hometown, right? She herself all but admitted to reporters after the Olympics a couple weeks ago that she knew what the dance was called.
"Actually, there is a name," she said. "But I don't know if I — it's inappropriate. It's just a dance we do in California."
If Williams were a bit more media savvy, she'd have used Saturday's forum to diffuse the issue by saying she doesn't approve of gangs and she apologizes to anyone she offended. Instead, she balked at the question and demanded reporters only ask her things designed to lift her up. Uh, good luck with that.
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