INDIAN WELLS (CBS SF) — The BNP Paribas Open chief executive and tournament director resigned Monday following sexist comments about women’s tennis over the weekend.
On Monday, BNP Paribas Open owner and Oracle founder Larry Ellison announced that BNP Paribas Open CEO and tournament director Raymond Moore has resigned.
On Sunday at Indian Wells, Moore was asked a question about the Women’s Tennis Association by the media and used the opportunity to make sexist remarks about women’s tennis.
Moore said the WTA rides “on the coattails of the men” and that women players should “go down every night” on their knees and “thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport.”
“Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and Tournament Director effective immediately. I fully understand his decision,” Ellison said.
But Ellison had more to say regarding the great ability and contribution female tennis players have made to the sport:
“Nearly half a century ago, Billie Jean King began her historic campaign for the equal treatment of women in tennis. What followed is an ongoing, multi-generational, progressive movement to treat women and men in sports equally. Thanks to the leadership of Billie Jean, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams and so many other great women athletes, an important measure of success has already been achieved. I’m proud to say that it is now a decade long tradition at our tournament at Indian Wells, and all the major tennis tournaments, to pay equal prize money to both the women and the men.”
Ellison extended his personal appreciation to “all the great women athletes who fought so hard for so many years in the pursuit of equal prize money in professional tennis. And I’d like to congratulate them on their success. All of us here at the BNP Paribas Open promise to continue working with everyone to make tennis a better sport for everybody.”
Moore’s full remarks, which he made on the same day the Indian Wells Tennis Garden hosted the men’s and women’s finals of the BNP Paribas Open can be read here.
Shortly after Serena Williams fell to Victoria Azarenka in the finals, Williams responded to Moore’s remarks, saying they were offensive to women everywhere.
“Obviously, I don’t think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that,” Williams said.
The WTA announced Monday that Moore’s comments were under review.
Even women’s tennis legend Billie Jean King weighed in Sunday on Twitter:
By Hannah Albarazi – Follow her on Twitter: @hannahalbarazi.