The International Tennis Federation on Monday said it was continuing its investigation into an alleged racist comment made by Ilie Nastase about Serena Williams’ pregnancy.
In an email to The Huffington Post, an ITF spokesperson said the federation would not comment further during the inquiry, which also covers other misconduct by Nastase.
The 70-year-old Nastase, Romania’s Fed Cup captain and a former U.S. Open and French Open singles champion, was heard saying of Williams’ unborn baby, “Let’s see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?” ESPN reported.
Williams had announced she was expecting her first child with fiancé Alexis Ohanian, who is white, earlier in the week.
Nastase, nicknamed “Nasty” and often a magnet for controversy, reportedly made the audible remark on Friday to other players in Romanian while one of his players, Simona Halep, was answering a press question about Williams before a Fed Cup playoff against Great Britain in Constanta, Romania.
“The ITF does not tolerate discriminatory and offensive language and behavior of any kind,” the ITF said in a statement to outlets. “We are aware of alleged comments made by Romanian captain Ilie Nastase and have begun an immediate investigation so that we have the full facts of the situation before taking further and appropriate action.”
According to The Associated Press, Nastase also harangued the journalist who apparently reported what he said. “Why did you write that? You’re stupid, you’re stupid,” Nastase told Eleanor Crooks of the British Press Association.
Nastase made other news at the tournament when he was ejected Saturday from a match after berating an umpire and calling members of the British team “bitches.”
He previously caused a stir by publicly asking British captain Anne Keothavong for her room number, Yahoo and other outlets noted.
The ITF eventually suspended Nastase from the Fed Cup and said it was looking into all of Nastase’s alleged misconduct, the BBC wrote.
“Under the terms of the provisional suspension, Nastase may not participate in the Fed Cup in any capacity with immediate effect, and shall be denied access to, and accreditation for, any ITF event including Fed Cup,” the Fed Cup said in a statement on Sunday.
Romania defeated the British in the Fed Cup, 3-2.
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Source: HuffPost Black Voices