It doesn't matter if John McEnroe or any man could beat Serena Williams. Here's why.

John McEnroe's decree that Serena Williams would "be like 700 in the world," on the men's tennis circuit predictably set the internet on fire.

The former seven-time Grand Slam champion told NPR in a June 25 interview that while he thinks Williams is an incredible player, it would be "an entirely different story," if she had to compete against men.

Photo by Greg Wood/Getty Images.


Whether McEnroe is right or wrong, many saw the comment from the famously loose cannon as unfairly dismissive of one of the most dominant athletes of her generation.

We're all human; we all say misguided things from time to time. Growing and learning and owning up to mistakes are all a part of running on this crazy hamster wheel we call life and so on and so forth.

Unfortunately, last night, when Stephen Colbert tried to give McEnroe an out, he ... didn't exactly take it.

When pressed by "The Late Show" host, the former world #1 doubled down on his assertion that Williams would have a hard time beating most men.

McEnroe unequivocally credited Williams for being the "best thing that's happened to American tennis in the last 15 years" and praised her as "one of the greatest athletes of the last 100 years."

Unfortunately, he also said some other things:

"Do they say that about girl basketball players? That they're as good as Michael Jordan?"

"My girls don't think I could beat her now. I thought I could beat her. She's pregnant, so maybe I should play her now."

If you've ever wondered what getting about 80% of the way to an apology before spinning around and slamming a deep corner shot to that apology's backhand looks like, now you know.

Athletes are competitive, and no one wants to willingly relinquish the title of "greatest," especially not a notoriously prideful player like McEnroe.

Photo by Rob Taggart/Getty Images.

As an all-time great tennis player, McEnroe has certainly earned the right to consider himself a member of the sport's elite. And his comments likely resonate, in part, because people actually want to know what would happen if Williams went head-to-head with the top men of her era.

I'm curious. You're probably curious. No doubt McEnroe himself is curious.

But to dismiss William's claim to greatest-of-all-time status on the basis of her gender is particularly gross.

Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

It's true that women are, on average, smaller than men. But sports — particularly individual sports like tennis — have always categorized players by physical stature.

Take boxing. Floyd Mayweather and Evander Holyfield are both among the greatest fighters of all time. Mayweather presently competes as a welterweight. Holyfield, however, is a former heavyweight champion. If they fought each other in their primes, Mayweather would probably dance around Holyfield for about 30 seconds, at which point Holyfield would punch Mayweather full on in in the face and Mayweather would die.

It is self-evident that Mayweather would get creamed (though I'm sure Mayweather would insist otherwise). That's why boxing has weight classes in the first place.

And yet, there's little public debate about that scenario, likely because they're both men who dominate in their respective rings. It's simply accepted that their innate physical differences prevent them from engaging in a fair fight.

Meanwhile, former male tennis greats and fans can't stop asserting Williams' inferiority.

Williams is by far the most dominant player of her era — perhaps any era.

She has exceeded her opponents in wins, points, championships, you name it. That's where her greatness lies. Beating or losing to a bunch of men wouldn't change that.

Would Serena Williams succeed on the men's circuit? It's possible she wouldn't. But McEnroe truly has no idea. Like everyone else, he's speculating.

McEnroe on the court in 1982. Photo via Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Such speculation from a figurehead of the sport sends a poor message to young girls and women involved in tennis.

It's the message that tells aspiring female players that "you can be good, but all the biggest trophies are reserved for boys." A message that suggests their abilities and strengths as a tennis player are somehow considered less than because of their gender.

McEnroe is entitled to his opinion, but Williams' accomplishments speak for themselves.

Grand Slam singles titles: 23.

Doubles titles: 14.

Four Olympic gold medals.

Over $80 million in prize money.

Any athlete, male or female, would envy a G.O.A.T.-worthy stat line like that, as they should also envy Williams' record of leadership on and off the court.

Such towering achievement might, understandably, make a woman uninterested in dwelling on hypotheticals.

How would Williams fare against the top men in tennis today? We'll probably never know.

And that's a good thing.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.