Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
We need to work on the relationship between athletes and the media.
Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open this weekend after the No. 2 seed was fined and threatened with future dangling from other Grand Slams after making the decision not to take part in post-match press conferences citing concerns for her mental health. Osaka’s decision motivated a standoff between the boast, and one of its brightest young stellars — with the scrutiny reaching a point where Osaka decided she needed to walk away from the boast for a while.
Osaka needing to withdraw from the French Open for her own mental health is a crushing conclusion that benefits nobody. Osaka is taking time away from tennis as a result, the French Open is infinitely less energizing without her in it, and the sport is deciding that inflexible heritage is more important than its contestants.
Naomi Osaka tried to get out of in front of the situation. Instead of waiting and springing her shortcoming of media participation while at Roland Garros, she tweeted last week that she would not participate in post-match press conferences, illustrating her reasoning, and being open about how it feigns her mental health. At the time she was prepared to be fined, but evaluated her mental health more than the money. It didn’t make long before the punishments occurred, with Osaka being docked $15,000 for failing to appear after he first round on Sunday.
It’s well within Osaka’s claims to not take part in media accessibility. It’s within the French Open’s freedoms to punishment her as a result. What happens next moved a stair further. A joint proclamation questioned the by the French Open, Australian Open, U.S. Open, and Wimbledon was overflowing with lingo indicating that the mental health for jocks was of “the utmost concern, ” but certainly, it wasn’t. By definition “utmost” signifies “most extreme” or “greatest, ” but it was abundantly clear the biggest concern for the Grand Slams wasn’t Osaka’s well being, but the rules — since they are menaced her with even further action.
“We have advised Naomi Osaka that should she continue to ignore her media indebtedness during the tournament, she would be disclosing herself to possible further Code of Conduct infringement importances. As might be expected, recur irreverences attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament( Code of Conduct essay III T .) and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial penalties and future Grand Slam expulsions( Code of Conduct article IV A. 3. ). ”
Talking about a commitment to mental health was nothing more than lip service when you take into account the rapidity in which the Grand Slams exhausted the statement. It felt as if this had been sitting in drawings for daytimes, ready to be announced as soon as Osaka’s fine was announced — with little exertion actually being made to understand the athlete parent her concerns.
Shortly after the statement Osaka posted on Twitter that she was withdrawing from the tournament, feeling like she would be a distraction if she stayed in Paris and continued being under investigation. In it she excused her contends with mental health further, which were happening at a time outsiders pondered she was on top of the world.
“The truth is that I have suffered from long stints of sadnes since the US Open 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that. Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that has considered me at tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety.”
Osaka went on to say that tennis media has primarily been very kind to her over the years. However, the pressure of simply turning up to press conferences generates her to suffer from anxiety, and that her decision was practicing self help. Osaka too explains that it wrote privately to the French Open, saying she was open to sitting down and discussing the question further after the tournament was over.
There’s no doubt this is a complicated issue. Yes, the media needs starrings like Osaka in order to write lines — but idols, and the boast need the media to promote the game. Especially for tennis, a fringe boast without organic plea, needs scribes to cover the play to promote awareness. There is a huge benefit to fans to have athletes face scrutiny, and difficult questions in an environment where they can’t control the message. However, there also needs to be greater understanding, and care towards players who have is why media availability taxes their mental health issues. There’s too such factors here that Osaka is able to absorb media penalizes, because she’s in a position of privilege where she can eat a $15,000 punishment and move on, whereas a great deal of other professional tennis players without enormous promotion treats can’t have the luxury of skipping obligations and facing the consequences.
The issue of media availability is not a simple one , nor should it be treated as such. Yes, musicians basically “sign up” for being questioned after equals when they enter a tournament, but there are assuredly particular members of the media who make a living off trying to trap athletes in “gotcha” status to be used for sound bytes, or distres them into having an feeling response so they are unable later be represented as “unhinged.” The discussion of athlete mental health from post-match interrogations needs to begin with offering credentials only to reporters actually interested in telling the stories of the tournament, and going reactions about accords to serve their books. Not those who help only themselves by needling players while then there psychological and prone, hoping they’ll blow up.
An honest discussion needs to take place about who on the media side is benefitting the play, and who is harming competitors. If we deem jocks to the expectation that they have to attend press conferences after matches, so too should the media be held to the expectation they will play ethically.
Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal was the best move for her, in view of the situation. It hurts everyone else. The French Open is less exciting as a result, fans will be deprived of watching one of the sport’s biggest adepts play. Tennis as a whole is less compelling without Osaka, and it remains to be seen whether the remaining part players will face even more scrutiny and campaigns by certain media my colleagues to move them click, because there’s no longer Osaka to make much of the spotlight.
Tennis needs Osaka, especially as we approach a life where Serena Williams is no longer contesting. The sport’s next big star is critical to the future success of the play, and grand slam organizers are well aware. There needs to be an open, honest and critical look at the structure of media availability is progressing. It’s the only way to keep the sport alive, and thriving.
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