Embattled CEO and Tournament Director Raymond Moore has resigned from the Indian Wells tennis tournament — BNP Paribas Open — as of Monday evening when he informed Larry Ellison, owner of the California desert event, the AP reported. Moore had been with the tournament for 29 years, but drew negative attention to himself, the tournament and tennis as a whole, when he said that women in tennis “ride on the coattails of the men,” and, “If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born because they have carried the sport.”
“Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles and CEO and tournament director effective immediately,” Ellison said. “I fully understand his decision.”
The misogynistic message from Moore drew immediate outrage from Billy Jean King, the pioneer of women’s equity in sports, Martina Navratilova, winner of 18 Grand Slam singles events, and the Williams sisters: Venus and Serena, two of the world’s biggest celebrities and tennis activists the game has ever known, to name a few. On Sunday, as the men’s final at Indian Wells was underway, ESPN commentator Patrick McEnroe called on Moore to resign immediately.
For tennis, this incident adds to its current problems headed up by the suspension of Maria Sharapova for failing a drug test and accusations of match fixing.