With severe weather rolling into Washington D.C., local park police had to stop a practice session between Bernard Tomic and Viktor Troicki earlier this week on Tuesday. And the altercation in Rock Creek Park was captured on video:
The warning proved correct as severe weather did move in later disrupting the event. However, should the tournament officials be responsible for handling weather situations and not a random park officer? And was trouble always follow these two?
Troicki ended up losing to Ryan Harrison while Tomic lost yesterday to Ivo Karlovic.
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The story behind the story is a bit nuanced: the tennis center sits on a national park, and by law, when the National Weather Service declares severe weather imminent (as it had) everyone is required to move to shelter. The park police are required to enforce this law for the safety of all park goers, and no exception is made for professional tennis players.
The players have indicated they were told only that they had 10 minutes to get off the court, but they weren’t told why, nor the special condition of being in a national park. They may have believed they were being warned of coming rain, and not the legal requirement to move to shelter. Also, there is no indication that the tournament officials attempted to get them off the court themselves, but they obviously elicited the attention of park police, as is evident in the video.
Now, I understand that the officer has a job to do, and he will be in some hot water if something happens to someone who remained on the court despite the impending severe weather. But my opinion is that police culture in this country has to change, because ultimately he was dealing with a couple of recalcitrant tennis players who , like a child complying as slowly as possible and being very annoying, were primarily putting themselves at risk, and should have been treated accordingly.
July 24th, 2016 at 3:32 pm