Carlos Ramos: A Stickler for the Rules at the U.S. Open and Always

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.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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