Or, perhaps, Nick Kyrgios is the pro tennis Donald Trump?
A fick is someone who is openly unethical and defiant about it. Leroy Fick gave the condition his name when he laughed about collecting public assistance checks in Michigan after winning millions in the state lottery. There have been many ficks past and present: one of them is running for President. Nick Kyrgios is pro tennis’s fick, and the sport is proving itself an ethics dunce of Republican Party proportions by not banning him from competition until he shapes up.
The gifted 21-year-old, who has already been fined many times for ugly behavior during matches including insulting spectators and officials, sank to new depths this week at a tournament in Shanghai. Kyrgios blatantly tanked his match against Mischa Zverev, declining to make an effort to win on many points. Among his displays of contempt for the match was hitting a lob serve and walking off the court before Zverev could return it. He lost a 48 minute straight-set decision, 6-3, 6-1.
“Nick, you can’t play like that, okay?” The chair umpire said when Kyrgios threw away a point . “It’s just not professional.”
Ooooh, that should scare him! How about, “Do that again, young man, and you’ll forfeit the match and your prize money. And that will be for starters. Understand?”
When a fan criticized him from the stands, he shouted back, “You wanna come here and play?Sit down and shut up and watch.” Required answer: “Sure. I’ll play. couldn’t do any worse than you, and at least I’d do my best.” After the match, Kyrgios was asked by a reporter if his conduct wasn’t disrespectful to paying fans.
“I don’t owe them anything,” he said. “If you don’t like it, I didn’t ask you to come watch. Just leave.”
After officials reviewed the match, the ATP [ What does this stand for? I have read numerous articles that refer to the “ATP” as a tennis governing body and so far can find none that spell out the name. Incompetent sports journalism.] fined Kyrgios $10,000 for lack of best effort, $5,000 for verbal abuse of a spectator and $1,500 for unsportsmanlike conduct. He still earned $35,845 for reaching the second round, so it was a profitable tournament for the jerk nonetheless. This extreme level of unprofessional and arrogant conduct can’t be controlled by fines and polite admonitions. This is signature significance: tanking by a professional athlete is proof of total disrespect for his or her sport, the privilege of being allowed to compete in it, and the paying fans who allow the sport to exist and be profitable.
There are legal barriers to banning Kyrgios from play for a year or so, but that’s what he deserves. This is another example of the Star Syndrome, aka The King’s Pass. Pro tennis doesn’t want to take him off the court because he plays exciting tennis (when he deigns to try) and the organizations still make money of his talents, and even from his misbehavior, as was the case with U.S. tennis jerks Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe many years ago.
All ficks, especially those who attract ethics-deficient fans and followers like Trump and Kyrgios, are like infections in the culture, endangering society’s ethics and norms of fairness, respect, honesty, and responsible conduct. They should be treated like the threats that they are, not coddled and tolerated.
They must be condemned, shunned, and removed.