Still making a fortune doing commercials flaunting his temper, John McEnroe was fined a whopping $19,000.00 for his bad temper on the tennis courts – swearing at players, judges and others. While World number one Serena Williams has been fined $175,000 and put on probation for two years for one foul-mouthed tirade at the U.S. Open.”
Ms. Williams’s outburst in the US Open semi-finals against Kim Clijsters over a “foot-fault.” Although Serina won the match, her “expletive-laced rant” against the lineswoman’s call is the memory we remember. The outburst, which culminated with the tennis star clenching her fist and threatening to “shove it down” the judge’s throat, showed America that competitive women can have an another temperment too.
Ms. Williams admits to “handling the situation poorly.” Do men, more than women, get away with such behavior? I thought superstars of any sex got away with a lot but it seems that sex is still the dividing line here too. I do not condone her behavior – nor would Icondone it for either men or women. It’s clear Williams is “not getting away” with anything considering that substantial fine. But are men more likely to be publically forgiven for such nasty episodes more so than women? Look at the evidence I collected on McEnroe. Seems – we still allow men more latitude. I am also sure I don’t want to see Serina making temper tantrum commercials any more than I enjoy Johns but he is being paid to rant and rave isn’t he?
What do you think? Are women treated the same as men when it comes to public rants and raves?
In 1980, McEnroe reached the men’s singles final at Wimbledon for the first time, where he faced Björn Borg, who was gunning for his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title. At the start of the final, McEnroe was booed by the crowd as he entered Centre Court following heated exchanges with officials during his semifinal victory over Jimmy Connors.
McEnroe exacted revenge two months later, beating Borg in the five-set final of the 1980 US Open.
Controversy dogged McEnroe when he returned to Wimbledon in 1981. Following his first-round match against Tom Gullikson, McEnroe was fined U.S. $1,500 and came close to being thrown out of the championships after he called umpire Ted James
“the pits of the world” and then swore at tournament referee
Fred Hoyles He also made famous the phrase “you cannot be serious”,
which years later would become the title of McEnroe’s autobiography, by shouting it after several umpires’ calls during his matches.
McEnroe’s 1984 season did not end without controversy. While playing and winning the tournament in Stockholm, McEnroe had an on-court outburst that became notorious in sports highlight reels. After questioning a call made by the chair umpire, McEnroe demanded, “Answer my question, jerk!” McEnroe then slammed his racquet into a juice cart beside the court.
By 1986, the pressures of playing at the top had become too much for McEnroe to handle and he took a six-month break from the tour. When he returned to the tour later in 1986, he won three titles. He took a seven-month break from the game following the US Open, where he was suspended for two months and fined US$17,500 for misconduct and verbal abuse.
- McEnroe’s fiery temper has got him featured in fields other than tennis on more than one occasion. In 1982, on the tail of his final victory against Borg, British impressionist Roger Kitter made a record called Chalk Dust: The Umpire Strikes Back in which he played a parody of McEnroe losing his temper with an umpire during a match. The record was made under the nomenclature “The Brat” and reached the UK Top 20; by this time the British tabloids had dubbed him “SuperBrat”.
- His random bursts of rage were parodied in the satirical British programme ‘Spitting Image‘, where he and wife Tatum frequently screamed and threw things at each other. He was also lampooned in the Australian The Paul Hogan Show, in which Paul Hogan played “John MacEnhoax” who used a handshake to fling his opponent, destroying a tennis court.
- McEnroe has also been given roles in TV and film where he playfully acknowledges his well-known belligerence such as in his appearance in a 2005 car commercial for the SEAT Altea where he angrily shouts his trademark “Clearly inside the line” line at an officer who has ticketed him for parking incorrectly. He also portrays himself in the 2002 film Mr. Deeds where he lauds the title character for getting angry and assaulting an antagonist, and has a scene in the film Anger Management starring Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler, most of which was cut—leaving only a short shot of him sleeping on the floor of the psychiatrist’s office. The full scene is in the DVD special features.
- In the Not the Nine O’Clock News, McEnroe is parodied by Griff Rhys Jones with considerable emphasis being placed on his lack of patience, his temper tantrums and his inability to understand that he does anything wrong or any decision that is not in his favour. He is shown arguing with his parents at breakfast over the consistency of his boiled egg, and whether or not he slurped his orange juice.
- McEnroe appeared in the episodes “The Head and the Hair” and “Gavin Volure” of 30 Rock.
- FBI agent Larry Connors uses the alias “John McEnroe” in episode 27 of the Japanese-Anime series “Death Note“.
- McEnroe was mentioned in episode “Columbo Goes to College” of series “Columbo”
- He appeared on a British advertisement for Tesco, along with Björn Borg, his famous rival, where they compete to collect supermarket items, and Borg eventually finishes with a plate, a play on the trophy of Wimbledon.
- McEnroe appeared in a Kellogg’s cereal commercial in 2008.
- McEnroe appeared in a National Car Rental commercial during Fall of 2008. In the commercial, he uses his “You cannot be serious!” catchphrase to express disbelief at the option to “choose any car in the [parking] lot.”
 Television and film
- McEnroe appeared on the December 16, 2006, episode of the UK talk show Parkinson.
- McEnroe appeared as himself in Curb your Enthusiasm Season 6 Episode 5 in which Larry David adopts the role of his limo driver for the day.
- McEnroe appears as himself in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan
- McEnroe appears as himself in Mr Deeds.
- McEnroe appears as himself in Anger Management.
- McEnroe appeared as himself in the “30 Rock” episode “Gavin Volure,” in which he is described as a man excelling in “art collecting and yelling.”
- McEnroe appeared as himself in Penn & Teller: Bullshit! on Season 7 Episode 9 regarding stress.
- McEnroe played a caller to Frasier’s radio show in an episode of the sitcom Frasier.
- McEnroe played himself in the 1979 Paramount motion picture Players which starred Ali McGraw and Dean-Paul Martin.
- On an episode of the tv show Spin City, Press Secretary Paul Lassiter (a self confessed fan of McEnroe) finds a headband that once belonged to McEnroe in a donation box for needy children. He takes it and begins wearing it at all times, and starts taking on many of McEnroe’s traits: becoming more aggressive, confrontational, and louder. In one scene, he and speech writer James get in a heated argument over whether a box was the “ingoing” box or “outgoing” box, a reference to McEnroe arguing about a ball being inside or outside.
 In music
- Punk band End of a Year reference his famous temper in the song “McEnroe.”
McEnroe’s infamous outburst “You’re the pits of the world” (from a Wimbledon 1st round in 1981, the same incident that produced his “You can not be serious” line) was quoted as the last line of the Pretenders song “Pack It Up”, from their 1981 album Pretenders II