Four-time Olympic medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings says she is boycotting an event on the AVP domestic beach volleyball tour because of two rule experiments that weren’t “honestly or meaningfully” discussed with players beforehand.
Walsh Jennings said in a 950-word Facebook post on Wednesday that she and her husband, Casey Jennings, are both skipping the event in Chicago this weekend.
One rule to be tested would give a server another service attempt if the first one hits the net and falls inbounds, much like on a serve in tennis. Under the current rule, the ball is in play.
The other rule would prevent a team from winning the match unless it is serving.
The AVP responded Thursday with this statement from owner and commissioner Donald Sun:
“We have nothing but the utmost respect for Kerri as a person and a world class athlete. Beach Volleyball would not be where it is if it wasn’t for her and our amazing athletes.
That said, as a relatively young, evolving business we must continue to be nimble and evaluate ways to improve our game for fans and the brands and networks that support us and our players. At times, this means trying something out that may at first feel uncomfortable, but I assure you that every decision we make has the long term viability of our game in mind and has included extensive input from all stakeholders. These changes, none of which fundamentally alter the nature of competition, have been discussed at length, and our decision to try them now was largely based on the fact we wanted to ensure that we had the broadest representation of players engaged in that test.
As such, it’s especially unfortunate that given the value we place in her perspective that Kerri won’t be with us in Chicago to provide the feedback we’re seeking. We will continue though, to engage her and the other players on tour in dialogue on and look forward to an exciting weekend of play. There are incredible players here who should be celebrated and beach volleyball and the AVP has never been in better shape.”