Richard Williams: Sports Will Always Be 'Prejudice'

May 5, 2014 - 9:26 AM

Richard Williams Book Tennis

Richard Williams speaks with daughter Serena. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett, File)

( – Richard Williams, father of tennis greats Venus and Serena, said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that sports will always be prejudice, and he conditioned his daughters early on to deal with it.

“Sports is gonna always be prejudice, and it's a subject that we don't always talk about, afraid to linger on, but I think it's a world we could talk about it and have open discussion like your program here. We could stop that problem,” Williams said.

Williams taught his daughters the game of tennis when they were young, and since then they have been ranked No. 1 and won a combined total of 24 Grand Slam singles titles. They each won four gold medals at the Summer Olympics Games – one each in singles and three each in doubles – the most of any tennis players.

Richard Williams’ new book, “Black and White: The Way I See It,” hits bookshelves on Tuesday. In it, he describes how his family was booed and subjected to racial epithets when Serena played in a tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., more than a dozen years ago, according to the Huffington Post. Serena has skipped the tournament since 2001.

Williams said he conditioned his daughters years ago to deal with prejudice by asking kids to call them names on the bus.

“They have been trained for that - Venus and Serena. A few years ago when they was juniors, I had some kids to come up on the bus, and I had them to call them all kind of names and play music so it could prepare them,” he said, adding that he didn’t want his girls to think that “this world was good and sports is gonna be this way.”

When asked about the scandal surrounding Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, Williams said he agreed with the punishment the NBA handed out over racist comments Sterling made, and the key to finding out how Sterling became racist is to look at his background.

“So how did he get that way? That’s what we have to find out. If we could learn how he became that way, then we could solve the problem. It usually starts in the home,” he said.

“The country reacted pretty much the same way. I’m not sure I heard anyone say anything positive about Sterling. Do you think America is changing for the better? It’s clear we’ve come a long way, but I’d guess we still got a ways to go,” host Bob Schieffer asked Williams.

“Well actually, I won’t see that way in my lifetime. This is what bothers me more than anything, and oftentimes wonder if my kids will see it. America have came a long ways, but how far will we go? We hope that we can go a long ways,” Williams said.