Carlos Ramos, the chair empire at the Serena Williams U.S. Open final, where there actually was another tennis player who actually won the match (Naomi Osaka). But Ms. Osaka is a footnote as U.S. Opens go because Ms. Williams railed against Mr. Ramos throwing “liar,” “thief,” and misogynist. The backlash against Mr. Ramos has been fierce. There are proposals to change the rules to allow coaching during matches. And, of course, the equality demands are loud and frequent.
No one seems to recognize that you have a humble man who worked his way through a bad backhand to find his niche in the rules. Mr. Ramos also mastered a stutter and now speaks 4 languages, an important tool as an ITF umpire. He knows the rules, he sticks to the rules, and he respects the rules. No ITF umpire has disagreed with the infractions and penalties in the U.S. Open.
What is troubling is that some umpires have seized upon what they call Ramos’s “inflexibility.” Flexible rules net, as it were, inconsistencies. Ms. Williams says the inconsistencies exist by gender. Perhaps what Ms. Williams experienced was just an umpire who always applies the rules, as opposed to other more flexible umps. With the inflexible, you have consistency. With the flexible, players do not know which way the calls may fall. Playing under inflexibility seems like a better option for players to curb their conduct.
For parents teaching children sportsmanship, they will take inflexibility and consequences. For businesses coping with employees who breach rules, regulations, and laws, it is the consistency of inflexibility that communicates you are serious about the whole compliance thing. When consequences for infractions are consistent, you provide more training than any training session could provide. Communication is clear when actions are consistent.