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Serena Williams Backtracks on Steubenville-Rape-Victim Comments

Serena Williams, one of the greatest female tennis players in the history of the sport, found herself in headlines for all the wrong reasons yesterday.

Toward the end of a just-released Rolling Stone profile of her, Williams offered up a controversial opinion about the rape victim of two Steubenville high school football players.

"Do you think it was fair, what [the players] got? They did something stupid, but I don't know. I'm not blaming the girl, but if you're a 16-year-old and you're drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don't take drinks from other people. She's 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn't remember? It could have been much worse. She's lucky. Obviously, I don't know, maybe she wasn't a virgin, but she shouldn't have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that's different."

The "I'm not... but..." construction generated some swift and fierce backlash on Twitter. Her point about the victim's underage drinking may be valid, as it's tough for most to argue that a 16-year-old girl should ever be drunk to the point of blacking out, but many believe she could have phrased the opinion much better, to say the least. Many read those comments and assumed that Williams was insinuating in some fashion that the victim deserved what happened to her.

Upon realizing how her comments were being taken, Williams took to her personal blog this morning to issue a statement:

"What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened. For someone to be raped, and at only sixteen, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved—that of the rape victim and of the accused. I am currently reaching out to the girl's family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written—what I supposedly said—is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.

I have fought all of my career for women's equality, women's equal rights, respect in their field—anything I could do to support women I have done. My prayers and support always goes out to the rape victim. In this case, most especially, to an innocent sixteen year old child."

Was her apology too little, too late? I'd be curious to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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