Damage control time for Serena Williams.
The superstar tennis player is in hot water over her statement to Rolling Stone about the the victim in the Stubenville rape case. She quoted as saying “she shouldn’t have put herself in that position.”
Now she’s backtracking and reaching out to the victim’s family.
“I am currently reaching out to the girl’s family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article,” Williams said in a statement released through her agent Wednesday. “What was written — what I supposedly said — is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.”
According to the AP, the comment was made in one paragraph of a lengthy story posted online Tuesday about Williams, a 16-time Grand Slam title winner who is ranked No. 1 heading into Wimbledon, which starts next week.
Two players from the Steubenville, Ohio, high school football team were convicted in March of raping a drunken 16-year-old girl; one of the boys was ordered to serve an additional year for photographing the girl naked. The case gained widespread attention in part because of the callousness with which other students used social media to gossip about it.
“What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened,” Williams said in the statement. “For someone to be raped, and at only sixteen, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved — that of the rape victim and of the accused.”
According to the Rolling Stone story, Williams says the perpetrators of the crime “did something stupid,” and she asks: “Do you think it was fair, what they got?”
She adds, “I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don’t take drinks from other people.”
Williams also is quoted as saying: “… she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”
Williams is in England preparing for Wimbledon.