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Patrick McEnroe vs. Tennis Player Donald Young: Another Twitter Casualty

Donald Young. Photo: Nick Bollettieri/Flickr.

Donald Young and Patrick McEnroe are beefing.

The story goes like this: Young, professional tennis player is the new poster child for blacks who have learned the game, only to discover the rules have changed.

All things being equal, Young should have been automatically entered into the French Open because he won a tournament in Tallahassee and defeated second-ranked Andy Murray at Indian Wells last month, two victories that placed him comfortably into the top 100. (Players ranked within the Top 100 are automatically entered into the French Open).

However, a delay in the ranking system meant that Donald Young would have to play for a wild-card spot. He played, and he lost to Tim Smyczek. Young felt that the United States Tennis Association (USTA) screwed him out of his wild-card entry spot to play at the French Open, and he spoke his mind on Twitter:

“(Expletive) USTA! Their full of (expletive)! They have (expletive) me for the last time!’

After the controversial tweet, Young apologized and abruptly closed his account.

But Patrick McEnroe, who heads the USTA development program, just wouldn’t let it go. McEnroe staged a conference call with the media and demanded an apology from Young. During the call, McEnroe rattled off every dollar the USTA had spent on Young to punctuate what an ingrate Young really is.

If anybody understands a disgruntled player, it should be Patrick McEnroe.

First, let’s point out that he is the brother of John McEnroe, the original drama king of the courts, who, during his career, built a brand based on his rants and tirades. John McEnroe was the show after the match. He rarely cared about what he said or whom he said it to.

John McEnroe was “winning,” as Charlie Sheen so infamously coined the term for his own public meltdown.

If anything, Patrick McEnroe, who has graciously side-stepped controversy during his tennis career, should understand the tweeted disappointment of a 21-year-old who was screwed out of his wild card opportunity to play at the French Open because a similar incident happened to him.

In 1987, John Hubbell, coach of the U.S. tennis team, thought only two players could be entered in Pan American Games singles competition, and he didn’t choose Patrick by accident.

Twitter wasn’t around in 1987 for Patrick to rant if he was so inclined, but neither was Donald Young. He wasn’t around either.

This sports saga reeks of race. McEnroe’s overzealous response to a tweet is drenched in disdain as if to say, There’s no need for athletic training programs or grants aimed to diversify historically European-dominated sport industries. Look at how they behave when we invest in them. How ungrateful. There will be no post-rant Charlie Sheen comeuppance or John McEnroe-styled branding for this once promising black tennis player. Instead, the decision makers will throw him under the bus to teach an even bigger lesson: Every black athlete had better know his role and shut his mouth. We make the rules. –zondra hughes

Throwback vid: John McEnroe’s Greatest Rants