Serving the Tennis Public?

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by Alohajrtennis, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    Link to good article on the tennis industries (not just USTA) poor performance with regards to conflicts of interests(forget about the appearance of conflicts, which is the standard they should be managing to) :

    Nice paragraph :

    Worse, the cliquishness breeds a lack of accountability, stifling serious discourse and examination and the kind of difficult discussion and inquiry that ultimately help businesses grow. So long as Patrick McEnroe is on the payroll, ESPN is unlikely to undertake an expose of the USTA's difficulty in harvesting top junior talent or the controversy surrounding the 10-and-under program. And so long as he draws a check from the USTA, Patrick McEnroe is unlikely to speak critically on-air about the lack of a roof at the National Tennis Center or address players seeking a greater share of revenues from events like the US Open.

    http://httobservations.blogspot.com/2012/09/serving-tennis-public.html
     
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  2. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

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    Good article. I have often stated on this Board that the USTA has signficant organizational flaws that hurt its effectiveness.
     
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  3. WARPWOODIE

    WARPWOODIE Rookie

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    Best quote in the article:

    "Welcome to tennis. The sport may be perceived by so many as prudish and chaste, but truth is, everyone is in bed with everyone else."
     
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  4. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Article:

    Serving the Tennis Public?
    A longtime sports journalist says the conflicts of interest in tennis breed a lack of accountability and stunt the sport's growth.
    By L. Jon Wertheim

    Andy Roddick's foot smudged the baseline as he served and, to his misfortune, the official stationed at the baseline saw it clearly. "Footfault!" she yelled, her voice echoing through the National Tennis Center this night at the 2010 US Open. With that, Roddick snapped, serving up a petty and prolonged tantrum, playing to the crowd and humiliating the lineswoman - all over a correct call.

    Rodick's explosion begged for condemntation. But in the ESPN booth there was an awkward silence. The notion of John McEnroe offering credible analysis of a player-official conflict is, of course, comical. His brother, Patrick, was not only the U.S. Davis Cup captain at the time - the success of his team dependent largely on Roddick's willingness to play - but had recently served as Roddick's informal coach. Meanwhile, Brad Gilbert was in a conflicted position, too. Having once coached Roddick, Gilbert has long been reluctant to say anything disparaging about his former charge.

    The scene was a familiar one. A year earlier Serena Williams also launched an ugly eruption after a foot-fault call. It was memorably ugly, but who was there to call her out? Not John McEnroe. Not Patrick McEnroe, also the head of USTA Player Development. Not Mary Joe Fernandez, who moonlights as the USTA's Fed Cup captain, a job that consists mostly of beseeching Serena to commit to playing every now and then. Not Pam Shriver, who shares an agent with Serena.

    Welcome to tennis. The sport may be perceived by so many as prudish and chaste, but truth is, everyone is in bed with everyone else. The Tours represent both labor (players) and management (tournaments). The USTA has a stake in tournaments and the media entities. Management agencies represent players, own and operate tournaments, and negotiate broadcast rights.

    In the media, it's conflicts galore. Though only occasionally disclosed, ESPN's Darren Cahill is on the Adidas payroll. Justin Gimelstob of the Tennis Chanel is also on the ATP Board. In addition to her USTA dueis, Mary Joe Fernandez is married to Roger Federer's agent. I don't exempt myself here: While my day job entails writing for Sports Illustrated, I also work for Tennis Channel at the Majors.

    The justification for these tangled webs goes something like this: The same relationships that might compromise integrity also help grease the skids for access. (It stands to reason, for instance, that an ATP player might be more inclined to accept a Tennis Channel interview request when one of his representatives on the ATP board makes the request.) What's more, these conflicts have always been in tennis's DNA. Decades ago, it was Donald Dell who, memorably, offered television commentary on the match of a player he represented at an event he was running. As Gimelstob recently put it to me, "Tennis is an incestuous, conflicted sport. If you are going to allow that, you can't blame someone for taking advantage of it the best he can."

    Yet when tennis alows these cozy relationships, it has the effect of stunting the sport's growth. For one, in the eyes of recreational players and casual fans, tennis comes across as clubbish and niche, a sport that is not big enough to trigger the usual rules. The overarching message: It's "just tennis." (Ask yourself: Would ESPN ever allow an active NFL league executive to serve as a Monday Night Football commentator?) More passionate players and fans are ill-served too. Lord knows what questions aren't being asked and what information isn't being imparted, given the relationships and the financial ties.

    Worse, the cliquishness breeds a lack of accountability, stifling serious discourse and examination and the kind of difficult discussion and inquiry that ultimately help businesses grow. So long as Patrick McEnroe is on the payroll, ESPN is unlikely to undertake an expose of the USTA's difficulty in harvesting top junior talent or the controversy surrounding the 10-and-under program. And so long as he draws a check from the USTA, Patrick McEnroe is unlikely to speak critically on-air about the lack of a roof at the National Tennis Center or address players seeking a greater share of revenues from events like the US Open.

    Like a team in a three-legged race, tennis stumbles and moves clumsily when all the major parties are tied together. To Gimelstob's point, yes, tennis is an incestuous, conflicted sport. But maybe we shouldn't be so cavalier about allowing it.

    L. John Wertheim is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated. Full disclosure: He also works for Tennis Channel.
     
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  5. MarTennis

    MarTennis Rookie

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    More than stunt...

    ...it breeds insularity and eventually coverups. My fear is PED cover up that exposes the inherent conflicts of interests currently tolerated.
     
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  6. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    So Cahill sponsorship by Adidas should not be allowed?
     
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  7. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    I think the conflicts are more of an issue when one is serving as a board member or employee of a non-profit. In that situation, not only should there not be conflicts of interests, but there should not even be the appearance of conflicts of interest.
     
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  8. Joeyg

    Joeyg Semi-Pro

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    On a local level, USTA NorCal's board of directors is dominated by teaching pros or owners. Conflict of interest? An individual is not allowed to vote for board members. All voting is done by proxy, so guess who continues to be elected (and I am a teaching pro)?
     
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  9. MarTennis

    MarTennis Rookie

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    Re Cahill...

    No one can "prohibit" it. It is a function of business ethics and standards. If ESPN or say USTA implemented conflict of interest guidelines that addressed the conflict issues that exists, then Cahill would need to choose what interest best served him without carrying a conflict.
     
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  10. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    You are right, for the for profit businesses like ESPN, but not so true when you are serving on a non-profit board.

    http://www.boardsource.org/Knowledge.asp?ID=3.389

    Why must we be concerned about conflict of interest?

    Board service in the nonprofit sector carries with it important ethical obligations. Nonprofits serve the broad public good, and when board members fail to exercise reasonable care in their oversight of the organization they are not living up to their public trust. In addition, board members have a legal responsibility to assure the prudent management of an organization's resources. In fact, they may be held liable for the organization's actions. A 1974 court decision known as the "Sibley Hospital case" set a precedent by confirming that board members can be held legally liable for conflict of interest because it constitutes a breach of their fiduciary responsibility.
     
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  11. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    I seldom watch the NEWS anymore and this forum sometimes follows the same formula which results in people tuning out.
     
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  12. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    My apologies, I didn't mean to bore you. Try this, courtesy of PMac, much more entertaining : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnQp9YoLl68
     
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  13. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    Saw that video a few days ago in a Gilbert tweet. Reminded me of an old Roddick match.

    I wasn't necessarily bored by the article. The writer was effective in stirring the pot which is his objective each time he creates a story. What Gimelstob refers to as "incestuous" I would label as free enterprise. I understand that doesn't make me right - I just don't sweat the small stuff and get caught up in conspiracy theories and witch hunts. I guess I'm more of a glass half full kind of guy which makes the junior tennis journey positive, memorable, and always moving North.
     
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  14. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    Not all non profit 501 boards are equal, there are 501 C3 and C4 that have different statutes and accountability. :neutral:

    Honallulu USTA section 501C4 gets $1,000,000.00 in grants in 2011 from USTA :) I guess they want more to serve the public :oops:
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
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  15. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Pro Tour, that is very interesting, thanks!

    I would find it informative to see what USTA funnels to other sections. Can you direct us to a link?

    (That is not a challenge, I am sincerely interested in this)
     
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  16. tennis1

    tennis1 New User

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    You can ask the USTA for a copy of their tax return

    They will send you the actual tax return which outlines all the grants given out to the sections and other entities they fund. It also lists all the salaries of key executives and sources of revenue. Very interesting and I encourage anyone who is interested in taking an active role with the organization to take a look sometime. I have the 2008 return which I can send to anyone who is interested.
     
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  17. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    Last edited: Sep 11, 2012
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  18. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Much obliged, Pro Tour.

    According to my abacus, the USTA funneled over $40 million to the Sections in 2009?

    That's a lot more than I would have guessed.
     
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  19. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    Maybe the USTA suck-ups could address specific points that were raised, as in the quote, rather than offering up generalities and abstractions.
     
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  20. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    Quid pro quo, Nothing new here in 501c4 non profit organizations, the guidelines are more lenient

    people are delusional if they think they can build a roof on top of arthur ash stadium, it is virtually impossible, grand stand and armstrong can not take on such project, it is better/easier more cost effective to move the venue and build a stadium from the bottom up with retractable roof.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
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