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Why You Shouldn't Listen to Naomi Osaka About 'Mental Health'

Why You Shouldn't Listen to Naomi Osaka About 'Mental Health'

Naomi Osaka writing in Time Magazine about her decision to withdraw from the 2021 French Open:

“In my opinion, the press conference format itself is out of date and in great need of a refresh. I believe that we can make it better, more interesting, and more enjoyable for each side. Less ‘subject vs. object’, more ‘peer-to-peer’… Perhaps we should give athletes the right to take a mental break from media scrutiny on a rare occasion without being subject to strict sanctions… I have numerous suggestions to offer the tennis hierarchy, but my No. 1 suggestion would be to allow a small number of 'sick days' per year where you are excused from your press commitments without having to disclose your personal reasons. I believe this would bring sport in line with the rest of society.”

Doug Gottlieb: “Naomi Osaka complaining about the media and the press conferences is no different than a janitor complaining about cleaning up crap in a bathroom. Like, you did know it was ‘janitorial service’, right? It’s part of the job requirements. This [talking to the press] is the only ‘job hazard’ she has. THAT’S IT. So I’m sorry, I don’t think this is about ‘mental health’ and I don’t think you get a ‘mental health day’. And oh by the way, SORRY, we DO judge athletes differently than we do anybody else. It’s not just your physical abilities that you can do that we can’t, it’s your mental abilities that you do thing that we can’t… It’s not that I’m not sympathetic, but I said this last week about Aaron Rodgers. We conflate the ‘I need a mental health break.’ Look, do I want you to be healthy mentally? Absolutely, I’m not some Satanist who’s like ‘I WANT YOU ALL TO BE SCREWED UP IN THE HEAD!’, but part of sports is pushing through, that’s mental toughness. It’s pushing through when you’re not feeling like doing it, and getting yourself to the gym and the court, and you’re going and DOING it. You gotta have that same mentality with the media. How do I maintain my poise, maintain my composure, get through these next 15 minutes, walk out with the a smile, and then go about my day. We’re not asking that much of you. And the mental health awareness we’re preaching – bro, we’re not talking about suicide and major depression, and people not being able to get out of their bed. These things are REAL problems… You want your cake and eat it too. ‘I want the media to write these loving and glowing stories, but I don’t actually want to communicate with the media, especially after a tough match in which I don’t play well because it makes me feel bad.’ Well, that ain’t the media’s fault that is makes you feel bad that you have to answer questions about a match… Their intentions are simply to promote the sport that they probably like that they always cover, and you’re going to do the ‘mental health’ thing? I’m not down with that.”

Listen to Doug Gottlieb discusses former no. 1 women’s tennis player Naomi Osaka’s recent column in Time Magazine titled ‘It’s OK to Not Be OK’, detailing her reasons for dropping out of last month’s French Open because of ‘mental health’ concerns that centered around her refusal to do post-match interviews.

Check out the audio above as Gottlieb details why an athlete being uncomfortable while answering questions during a press conference after a tough loss doesn't have anything to do with 'mental health.'

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