Skip to comments.Woman sues to get men to play her
Posted on 08/11/2009 9:09:27 AM PDT by Harrius Magnus
Some men don't like playing Griffin.
Three years ago, league members voted to rescind a rule that penalized them for refusing to compete against her or anyone else. The change has kept her from taking on some of the league's top players. Men have invoked both their wives and God to avoid matches against her.
Now, Griffin has made her problems on the court a matter for a court. She is suing the city, alleging discrimination. She wants the penalty rule reinstated and the city to pay her $10,000 or more for emotional distress.
Griffin has been playing since she was 10 and was recruited to play at Barton College in Wilson. In 1993 and 1994, the U.S. Tennis Association ranked her among North Carolina's top female singles players.
Today, the 41-year-old substitute teacher says her fitness and unorthodox, self-taught technique make her a formidable opponent. She rates a 5.0 on the National Tennis Rating Program's 7.0 scale. Raleigh's highest level of competition for either sex is a 4.5 challenge ladder, in which participants challenge each other to move up in ranking.
Griffin joined the men's ladder in 1999, hoping for keener competition. "I just signed up and played," she said. "Nobody tried to stop me."
She made it to the final eight tournament all nine times she played. Then, in 2003, she tried to sign up for the summer season. But city officials said women could no longer play on the men's ladder because a co-ed ladder had been created.
On and off the ladder
Griffin petitioned the city to let her back onto the men's ladder, gathering 300 signatures, including 20 from men on the ladder.
Raleigh tennis officials relented and let her play.
That winter, though, the excuses began.
"One said he had a jealous wife, and he couldn't play females," Griffin said. "Another said he heard I made people run too much."
Griffin complained. Ken Glanville, the city's assistant tennis director, responded with a new rule: A challenger would get 24 points any time an opponent ignored a challenge or refused to play, Griffin said. It was called the "avoidance rule."
In spring 2006, Griffin won the men's 4.5 ladder tournament. The next season, she invoked the rule for the first time when a would-be opponent ignored her challenge but went on to play men. Glanville awarded her 24 points and said he would review the rule, according to an e-mail provided by Griffin's attorney.
Soon after, the city sent an e-mail to members of the ladder, asking whether the avoidance rule should be scuttled.
Out went the rule.
In an e-mail to Griffin provided by her lawyer, Glanville said the move was best for everyone. "The best compromise is that now you are able to play anyone on the ladder regardless of rank and if you can't coordinate with a player you just move on and play someone else," he added.
Efforts to reach him failed.
"To me, the way they went about removing the rule wasn't right," Griffin said. "A lot of the men probably didn't realize why the rule was there."
She continued to complain to city tennis officials.
In an e-mail Sept. 6, 2007, David Bell, the city's tennis director, told Griffin he didn't think men were avoiding playing her because of her sex.
"The city is not in the position of requiring each player on the ladder to play each other," Bell wrote. "From the information I've received so far, there seems to be no indication that players are avoiding you based on your sex."
Bell declined to comment.
The reasons men give
Without the avoidance penalty, the excuses resumed.
"If they say I have to play you then I will quit the ladder to keep peace because I don't feel comfortable playing a singles match with another woman other than my wife as I do not think it would honor my wife," Adam Schainblatt wrote in an e-mail to Griffin earlier this year.
Schainblatt said Monday that he wants to play only men. He's never asked his wife if she would mind his playing women.
"It's me, not her," he said.
Randy Browning asked Griffin not to challenge him.
"As a husband, father and deacon in my church, I don't believe it's a good thing for me to be seen out playing a female other than my wife in casual matches without her around," Browning wrote in a Sept. 4 e-mail provided by Griffin's attorney. "As a believer I hope you can understand this."
He declined to comment.
Without the avoidance rule, Griffin has been unable to gain enough points to move up the ladder, according to her suit.
Raleigh officials, including City Manager Russell Allen and Mayor Charles Meeker, would not comment.
Some guys don't mind
There are men who enjoy playing Griffin.
Nile Testerman, who has played her several times, says he has no problem with women on the ladder, especially Griffin, who is one of two female competitors this season.
"She's stronger than half the players in it," he said. "It shows in her win-loss record. She's always in the top."
He said he didn't know the avoidance rule had even existed, but it seemed OK.
"You've got to play when people ask you to play," he said.
Despite the lawsuit, Griffin continues to compete on the men's ladder.
"I'm a follower of Jesus Christ; and I love everyone on here," she said. "I just want the program run fairly for everyone."
Griffin said the dispute has taken a toll, and she's experienced depression. But the fall season begins Aug. 24. She'll be playing.
I didn’t read the article. What was it about. (Sarcasm)
I don’t blame men for not wanting to play her. It’s a lose-lose situation. Whereas for her, it’s win-big win.
Tennis? From the title I was wondering......
I might say the same regarding marriage. Oh, but wait, women already sue for that reason.
” Griffin said the dispute has taken a toll, and she’s experienced depression. “
Whatever happened to the simple basic right of freedom of association? The men shouldn’t even have to give any further reason for not wanting to play with her other than “I don’t want to”. This is ridiculous and the kind of “mentality” (no brain) that brought us unisex bathrooms and trannies being allowed to use any restroom they choose, the better for your children to be exposed early in life to perversion.
I think she’s got a point. Either female players need to be specifically barred from the competition, or players need to be penalized for ducking her. This middle ground of letting her participate but allowing would-be competitors to ignore her just doesn’t seem right.
Man up and play or go home.....
| I think it would take
a lawsuit to get most men
to play this woman...
similarly, most Congresscritters have invoked wives and God to avoid telling the truth about the crappy bills they pass.
I would run and hide....
i’ll bet she grunts when she hits it.
Huh? It's a tennis match, not a motel-room tryst.
That's called tactics. Do these people play patty-cake across the net? I used to just love to get the big basketball and football jocks out on the court where this (formerly) 5'10” 155 lb guy could make fools out of them.
They really should rethink that title.
So a really good male should then be allowed to join the women’s ladder and clean up every year. Fair is fair.