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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Serena Williams’ controversial Twitter picture: Was it over the line?

On the day the WTA announced its new "strong is beautiful" campaign, Serena Williams is under unnecessary fire for putting up, and quickly removing, a sexy Twitter avatar.

Williams put up the picture of herself standing in high heels and wearing nothing more than matching undergarments on Thursday afternoon. She took it down hours later, but not before the criticism began.

"Someone must have gotten to her and suggested something about common sense and hypocrisy," wrote Greg Couch of The Sporting News.

He's referring to the recent arrest of a Florida man accused of stalking the tennis star. The 40-year-old man was arrested last week on the grounds of Williams' Palm Beach estate. One month earlier, Williams took out an injunction against the man, who used her Twitter updates to stalk her in various locations, including in the dressing room of a television studio. Couch doesn't say so directly, but he's basically suggesting that Serena putting up a voyeuristic photo of herself in a bra and panties emboldens stalkers.

Couch isn't the only one who was skittish about the picture or instantly thought of the recent arrest.

I see it differently. I think the picture is strong and beautiful, just like those new commercials say. What's Serena supposed to do, let the creepy guys win? Dress like Mary Todd Lincoln for the rest of her life? She can't put on a sexy outfit anymore because of one crazed man? If that's going to be the case, she might as well stop tweeting since her accused stalker used that as a tool in his illegal activities. No more revealing outfits; think of how some people might respond! Hell, she might as well stop playing tennis because that's how the stalker found her in the first place.

There's no higher meaning to this picture and I don't want to assign any. Like everything Serena does, this was a calculated move to get people talking about her. It always works. The intentions behind the picture don't change its merit, though.

Like Erin Andrews before her, Serena is a victim of a crime. She's not an enabler. Let's not treat her as one.

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