After his quarterfinal loss today to Hyeon Chung, the newly-controversial Tennys Sandgren came into the press room and made an intense statement critical of the press corps and then he would only talk about the match. I felt that if he spoke of issues off the court to the press and the public, it was appropriate to ask him follow-up questions. Here is our “dialogue.”
TENNYS SANDGREN: You seek to put people in these little boxes so that you can order the world in your already assumed preconceived ideas. You strip away any individuality for the sake of demonizing by way of the collective.
“With a handful of follows and some likes on Twitter, my fate has been sealed in your minds. To write an edgy story, to create sensationalist coverage, there are a few lengths you wouldn’t go to to mark me as the man you desperately want me to be.
“You would rather perpetuate propaganda machines instead of researching information from a host of angles and perspectives while being willing to learn, change, and grow. You dehumanize with pen and paper and turn neighbor against neighbor. In so doing, you may actually find you’re hastening the hell you wish to avoid, the hell we all wish to avoid.
“It is my firm belief that the highest value must be placed on the virtue of each individual, regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. It’s my job to continue on this journey with the goal of becoming the best me I can and to embody the love Christ has for me, for I answer to Him and Him alone. I’ll take questions about the match, if you guys don’t mind. Thank you. If you have any questions about the match….”
After a handful of questions about the match, I spoke up as follows:
Q. Out there in the match today, you had a racquet, and Chung had a racquet. That was fair. Do you think it’s okay to come into the room and speak to us on how we dehumanize and –
TENNYS SANDGREN: I’ll take anything about the tennis. About the tennis.
Q. Out there on the court you both had racquets. Why is it okay that you can make your comments and we can’t respond?
TENNYS SANDGREN: This stopped being about tennis. I was fine talking about tennis. I’m fine talking about a lot of things. But, you know, I feel like this has gone very far away from the tennis.