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Marketers Likely To Stick With Serena Despite Profane Tirade

Serena Williams' ballistic tirade at a line judge at the U.S. Open Saturday night may have earned her a finger-wagging in the editorial pages of the New York Times, but it's not likely to have much impact on her pocketbook, Rich Thomaselli writes.

The Times was particularly upset with Williams' subsequent press conference, where it says she trafficked in "the language of glib self-forgiveness" and gave us a "virtuoso display of the sports cliché, saying little and apologizing for nothing." She did apologize Monday.

But the experts who Thomaselli and Emily Bryson York talk with don't expert a backlash from her sponsors, which include Nike, Wilson, Hewlett-Packard and Gatorade. Nor do the sponsors themselves. "We're glad to see Serena Williams has taken responsibility for her actions and we continue to work with her," says Basil Maglaris, a spokesman for Kraft Foods, which sponsors Williams through its Oreo Double Stuff Racing League.

"I tend to think she is in no danger of losing her endorsements," opines Robert Boland, clinical assistant professor of Sports Management at New York University. Nor the hearts of her fans, evidently. When Patrick McEnroe asked about the outburst in an interview with Williams a day after the tirade, he was booed by the crowd, Boland points out




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