Last week, five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova was provisionally banned from professional tennis after testing positive for an endurance enhancing drug, melodium.

The Russian athlete has been using the drug under the name mildronate for 10 years as a prescription for her irregular heartbeat and combat the history of diabetes in her family. The World Anti-Doping Agency banned the use of melodium in January.

Why does this matter?

Sports is not exempt from racism, despite its cross-cultural appeal.

Black tennis star Serena Williams has won Grand Slams 21 times, and defeated Sharapova 18 times. The rhetoric from media outlets following her victories accused Williams of earning her victories by taking enhancers (because naturally any black woman literally serving white women from all corners of the globe a taste of her black girl magic, can’t possibly be just using talent and skill alone).

Although Williams has won quadruple the number of grand slams as Sharapova, the Russian star is ranked to be the highest paid female athlete in the world at $195 million. Sharapova is making nearly $50 million more than Williams, despite the records showing us Sharapova is the third most successful active tennis player, black women owning the first two places, Serena and older sister Venus. Apparently, wage disparity is not limited to celebrity stature when race is a factor.

I can only think of the bigotry and misogyny that has remained present through our girl Serena’s career, and how detrimental such a scandal would’ve been for a black woman in a sport where she doesn’t nearly receive the recognition, or money for that matter, that she deserves. Constantly breaking records, Williams still has to break through the wall of sexism and racism that belittles her abilities on the court.

Williams wasn’t included on the list of tennis dopers, yet even before this scandal occurred, to google her name along with steroids reveals a plethora of headlines questioning if her talent and muscular physique is the result of foul play. Photos appear that show Williams’ muscles glistening, her mouth in a tight grit or wide open with veins and muscle cuts on full display with critics comparing her to a gorilla or a man. Before two days ago there was hardly any accusations of steroid use behind Sharapova’s name.

So to find out all along that the highest-paid female athlete was the one, in fact, using enhancers is a joke, mainly because even with the enhancer, she hasn’t beat Williams in 11 years and counting. Critics would have been quick to denounce Williams’ achievements and ensure they knew Wlliams was too good to be true. Yet, even as Williams has the perfect “HA! moment,” she still shows support for her rival and says that she admires her courage to come forth.

I wonder if this will rock Sharapova’s career, will she lose her spot as the top earning athlete? Will other endorsers follow Nike’s suit and pull their contracts with her? Will the media tear her to shreds? Because too often in all arenas of life we see white mediocrity continuously be rewarded while the talent and hard work of black people is dimmed or left out of the conversation. Overall, there is a heightened tolerance to PED usage as drug policy fluctuates year in and year out. Unfortunately, this creates a double standard where white athletes such as Sharapova can escape severe penalty by the media.

Endorsers flock to Sharapova because she is the standard of beauty white America is comfortable with. She’s thin, fair skinned, and she wins, just not when it comes to the Williams sisters. The bulk of her earnings are from endorsements showing that it’s not about being the best, but rather being privileged enough to be perceived as such despite two black women having better skill and more titles and gold medals to back it up. This scandal only strengthens her mediocrity because even with the enhancers, she couldn’t match up to Williams.

The media has told Serena she was too buff, too manly, too strong, and too arrogant to be beautiful yet we see her rise to the occasion each and every year to show the complexities of femininity and how she defines her own.

This drug scandal of Sharapova’s is only another example of the disparity in portrayal and promotion of white athletes in contrast to black athletes. Post-bellum whites have lost representation and stature collectively throughout the American sport arena. The new agenda aims to overcompensate for white talent, particularly when it debunks or out revenues black talent. I can only hope endorsers and commentators alike can finally accept Williams as the greatest active tennis player and embrace her exceptional talent, beauty, and confidence on the court rather than discrediting her for the sake of upholding America’s comfort.