Serena Williams when she wants can flash a smile potent enough to illuminate a small city. We've come to find out she has a temper nasty enough to shut down that same city's electricity while sending small children scurrying for cover. Somewhere in the middle is the real her. A certain lineswoman probably isn't in a hurry to find out.
We're constantly bombarded with excuse phrases such as "He/she is a warrior," "He/she just hates to lose" and, my personal favorite, "He/she was in the moment."
For clarification sake: athletes defined as warriors is insulting to this country's military personnel, we all hate to lose and what the heck does "In the moment" even mean?
Williams' recent outburst at the U.S. Open, while a punch to the midsection of her reputation, should have cost her more than $10,000 and a few fans. Ten grand to someone who years ago achieved millionaire-many-times-over status is like pulling a quarter, two nickels and a clump of lint from the pockets of you and me.
Ten grand isn't even a slap on the wrist, it's a whispered voice saying, "Serena, darling, you made a bad choice. We would greatly appreciate it if you didn't do it again. Are those hair extensions? They're pretty."
But as is the case with today's coddled professional athlete, someone on the Williams payroll pulled her aside, reminded her of how ridiculous she looked and sounded and then instructed her to flip the switch and pour on the sugar the next time cameras were rolling.
She did and now the world is a better place again. Supposedly. Unfortunately, the opportunity to notify Williams, a three-time Wimbledon singles champion, that she's not bigger than the sport she plays has passed. The spineless suits running professional tennis should have tacked another zero onto that $10,000 fine.
Williams still could find herself suspended when all is said and done, but, again, no message is sent. She's the master at pulling herself out of events a few days ahead of time. All this does is save Williams the trouble.
NFL SEASON UNDER WAY: One week does not an NFL season make. Nevertheless, here are a few observations:
* Drew Brees might not possess a Howitzer for a right arm, but he is the league's best quarterback. Brees put up outrageous numbers in 2008 and his six-touchdown performance against Detroit - OK, it was Detroit - probably won't be duplicated any time this season. Or next. Apologies to Tom Brady and Eli's brother. There's a new sheriff in town.
* Only six seasons removed from representing the NFC in the Super Bowl, the Carolina Panthers are now five shades of awful. Losing to Philadelphia is one thing. Getting creamed 38-10 in your own stadium is inexcusable. An 0-3 start appears likely as Carolina travels to Atlanta on Sunday, then plays at Dallas in a Monday night game.
* It's great to see Bill Laimbeer's younger brother quarterbacking the Chicago Bears. Oh, that's Jay Cutler? Sorry, the comb-over fooled me.
* Much as I like Anthony Gonzalez, the Indianapolis Colts should be OK without the injured wideout. Sure-handed rookie Austin Collie will fill the void nicely, Reggie Wayne is now an upper-echelon talent and Dallas Clark is a tight end with a receiver's skillset.