“The Bad Guy the Rest of his Career” – Reputation Lessons

The Facts: Novak Djokovic, the number one seeded tennis player in the world, was disqualified from the U.S. Open. After losing a point, he hit a tennis ball toward the back of the court. The ball struck a line’s woman in the neck. She fell to the ground, grasping for air. For this, the umpire essentially ejected Djokovic, ruling that he must forfeit the match.

Context: The intent is unclear. Djokovic looked to be annoyed or frustrated after losing a point. He did hit the ball unusually hard. He did not look in the direction that he hit the ball, so it appears that he was not aiming at the line’s woman. The instantaneous look on his face was of surprise. He immediately walked over to apologize and help the woman recover. After being disqualified, he released a statement, calling it, “unintended.”

Verdict: So, after watching the replays and hearing from Djokovic, we should reasonably conclude that he hit the ball in frustration, but he wasn’t trying to hit/harm anyone. This makes him guilty (he hit the ball) without intent (he didn’t mean for it to happen).  This reminds me of the legal definition of manslaughter where your actions cause a murder, but you didn’t mean to do it.

Even without intent, the chair umpire decided to eject Djokovic. Typically in tennis, a player receives a warning for the first offense, then a game deduction for a second offense, and a disqualification for the third offense. However, the umpire believed the rules were clear. A player hurt a referee out of frustration and thus, a swift disqualification was warranted. The safety of the staff is of the utmost importance.

Judgment: After the match, famed tennis commentator John McEnroe stated, “Whether he likes it or not, Djokovic will be the bad guy the rest of his career.” In other words, his reputation is irreparably damaged. He image will not be able to recover from his incident.

Your Turn: Given all of this information, do you think Djokovic should have been suspended and do you think his reputation will recover after this situation? Are there any instructive lessons to be learned from this situation?

Comments 45

  1. I think that his reputation will eventually recover because watching the video you can tell that his actions were completely unintentional. Something to take away from this situation is that doing things out of frustration will usually not turn out well.

  2. I think his actions were unintentional and that his reputation will eventually recover when people understand it was an accident. I think this shows that you shouldn’t act out of anger when you’re upset.

  3. I believe that he deserved to get suspended. Even when players get angry on the court, they should never interfere with the safety and health of those around you, or trying to help you. I think his reputation will recover because everyone makes mistakes and should be allowed to have second chances.

  4. I think that the athlete deserved to get suspended because of their actions. Part of athletics is having composure and acting right even when things do not go your way. It is very important to control your emotions even when you are anger. His reputation will recover after some time because it is clear that he did not intentionally try to cause harm

  5. I believe that he did deserve to be suspended because his acts caused harm to the line woman, but his reputation will recover because everyone makes mistakes and because overtime people will slowly start to forget about what had happened.

  6. I think that even though his actions were completely unintentional, he deserved to get suspended or at least taken out of the tournament because people have to take the consequences for their actions, like he did during the game. I think that his reputation will recover though because he was so apologetic and he really felt sorry and sincere in his helping out after the incident.

  7. I think in the moment, it looked like he should of been suspended because he hurt a woman out of rage. However, after replays of the video, I think it’s clear his intent was not to do harm, which is why I think his reputation has the ability to recover. This situation teaches that violence doesn’t solve anything, whether it is intentional or not there will always be consequences.

  8. I do believe that it was the right thing for him to be suspended because even if his intent was not to harm the lines woman, you should never get that frustrated on the court to the point were someone might get injured on accident. The thing I would take away from this is to not get frustrated and angry on the court.

  9. I think that he deserved to get suspended because his actions caused someone to get hurt but I feel like his reputation is going to be okay because are going to forget about the situation.

  10. I think that he should have been suspended but I do think that his reputation will recover. I think people realize it wasn’t on purpose but I do think it is good that he was suspended in the moment.

  11. his actions were unintentional, his career will eventually recover. It just shows that u shouldn’t do things out of anger.

  12. I believe that his reputation will be uphold and he will recover if you pay close attention to the video is actions where unintended

  13. i think that what he did was not on purpose at all. i think his place that he was in will come back to him because in the video it didn’t look like he did any of it to put someone in danger

  14. I think that he got what he deserved. Even though he didn’t mean to hit the woman, he still hit the ball unusually hard out of frustration. Whether he meat it or not, he hit her. I think that his reputation will recover, I just think it will take a bit of time

  15. Watching the video I think his relationship and reputation will be forgiven and recovered. While watching the video you can tell that his actions and emotions were completely unintentional and did not mean to hurt the ball girl. His anger got out of control but therefore I think he will be forgiven.

  16. I believe that his punishment was right and that his actions were unintentional. In the video, you can see how truly sorry he was. This teaches us that we shouldn’t act out of anger

  17. I think his career will recover because anyone who is invested enough to understand the situation would know it was accidental. The lesson here is that it’s important to control your emotions when there’s a lot at stake

  18. I think that Djokovic’s reputation will eventually recover and will not be known as the tennis that hit a ball at women’s throat and he had done was unintentional. I also don’t he should have been suspended because many other tennis have acted out in rage and they never gave him any warnings. We can learn from this that we shouldn’t act in anger.

  19. I do believe that it was right that he was suspended, even though he did not intentionally hit the woman. He could have maintained a better composure and not taken his anger out on the ball. I do believe that this will take a toll on his reputation, but I also believe that he will learn from it and his reputation will recover. This experience shows that as an athlete and person, a person should remain calm and not get angry even when things are not going their way.

  20. I think his career is on track to recover because anyone who is invested enough to understand the situation would know it was accidental. The lesson here is that it’s important to control your emotions when there’s a lot at stake. Im writing this sentence because it is discarding my comments as spam

  21. I think his reputation will recover because he didn’t mean to do it. I think he shouldn’t have reacted the way he did and he was being reckless. The punishment was fair

  22. His reputation will not be harmed by this. He absolutely should have been suspended from the match but he did not mean to do it on purpose. All athletes get frustrated and take out their anger on something. He was simply doing that and while doing so, he accidentally harmed an individual.

  23. Obviously it wasn’t intentional but it’s still difficult to rebuild a reputation after something like that. It’s a lot easier to destroy than to build.

  24. I believe his reputation will recover but I believe he needs to learn from his mistake. I learned not be a person who takes their anger out even how tough the game or match is

  25. I think his reputation will be fine and recover because it was clearly not on purpose as he said. I do think that he deserved the punishment because he acted very harshly.

  26. Since it was an accident I don’t think he should be punished severely, we see athletes lose it all the time, especially in pro sports when millions are on the line. I do think he will watch his behavior from now on and learned a lesson.

  27. His reputation will not be harmed by this. He absolutely should have been suspended from the match but he did not mean to do it on purpose. All athletes get frustrated and take out their anger on something. He was simply doing that and while doing so, he accidentally harmed an individual.

  28. I think his reputation will recover because he looks like he did not intentionally want that to happen and reacted to her pain by trying to comfort her.

  29. part of me thinks his reputation will recover and part of me thinks this action will never be forgotten. i think the ref should not have diqualified the player, but i understand when something like that happens that is what first comes to mind. i think we can learn from this that, you shouldnt make actions out of frustration. i do believe this player did it on accident out of frustration and wasnt using technique of any sort to aim at the judge.

  30. I think he should’ve got suspended because although he was mad, he still harmed someone. I think eventually his reputation will recover but I think it will follow him for a long time.

  31. I think that he should have been suspended and that although he will play again, his reputation will not recover. Celebrities are vilified for their mistakes all the time, even if it was something they had control over. People will watch the video forever, and all they will see is the woman gasping for air, not that he ran over, or looked sorry.

  32. I think he should’ve been suspended even though he didn’t mean to do it, actions always have consequences. His reputation will probably eventually recover but it will definitely take some time.

  33. Personally, I believe he deserves a second chance. Everyone makes mistakes especially when angered. Although his action was not appropriate. Putting others at risk especially is sports should not be acceptable.

  34. Personally, I believe he deserves a second chance. Everyone makes mistakes especially when angered. Although his action was not appropriate. Putting others at risk especially is sports should not be acceptable.

  35. I think that the umpire made the right call disqualifying him. I think his reputation will recover but he should have had control over his anger.

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