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Naomi Osaka and Mental Health Reform

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  • #31
    Hmm...
    1) Osaka withdrew following the first round of an individual competition. Quarterback Bradshaw walking away from his team on the verge of a Super Bowl is IMHO a silly comparison.
    2) Marshawn's "I'm only here to keep from being fined." routine was amusing but clearly surly and antagonistic toward both the NFL administration and the press corp. Osaka's response was honorable and respectful.
    3) Osaka IS a popular, attractive, intelligent, very talented bi-national young woman of color... What the hell does this have to do with anything? Well, big time tennis administrators want to build their sport through positive exposure to the public. If it is contest to win popular opinion (and it is) Osaka is holding all the aces.
    4) Yes, of course, the gods of the tennis industry want to make a lot of money. That's fine. Osaka, on the other hand, may not be willing to bend her personal preferences and she may prefer being happy to being in the public arena. That's her decision... she has no obligation to please the tennis world or the media.
    Last edited by jc203; 06-03-2021, 04:06 AM.

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    • #32
      Contracts say otherwise.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by jazzcyclist View Post

        Terry Bradshaw dealt with depression throughout his NFL career at a time when depression wasn't as understood as well as it is now. What do you think the reaction would have been if he had announced that he was sitting out a Super Bowl to deal with depression? What would be the reaction if a starting Super Bowl quarterback did that today?
        Bad comparison. The Super Bowl is a championship game. Naomi pulled out after the first round of the French Open. Comparing a championship to a playoff round is like comparing a Lamborghini to a Yugo.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by jazzcyclist View Post
          Why is it ludicrous? Grand Slam tennis tournaments and the Super Bowl are both the pinnacle of their sport, and she didn't get fined for withdrawing. Players withdraw all the time without incident.
          See my comment above. It might have been a different and far more alarming story if she had withdrawn from the final. Furthermore, there are four majors in tennis. In the NFL, the Super Bowl is a one-shot deal. Besides, Naomi's already been to the very top; 4 times in the last 2½ years.
          Last edited by CookyMonzta; 06-03-2021, 05:32 AM.

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          • #35
            Seems like she was willing to take the fine, for the French. But the Tennis powers wanted to take it, further, and expel her from the rest of the grand slam!

            But what happens in Tokyo in six weeks, where, more than likely, she will light the torch? A dude like, say, Taniguchi, '91 World Marathon Champ, lighting the torch, doesn't garner the NBC/World TV ratings as a Naomi. And skater Hanyu might be better lighting the torch in the Winter Games.....!

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            • #36
              She decided to void by the contract by non-performance and walked away, willing pay whatever penalties ensue. That is not a sin, it is a common occurrence in business relations. The history of both men’s and women’s professional tennis is chock full of players abandoning the established tours because they were unhappy with the status quo.

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              • #37
                My first thought, when I first heard about this was, next time she shows up at a press conference, and they ask a question that rubs her the wrong way, her response should be two words: "Next question."

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by jazzcyclist View Post

                  When the governing bodies of professional sports organizations negotiate contracts with TV networks and sponsors, media availability of the athletes is part of the deal. Not only is she not the first athlete or coach to hate this part of the job, but practically everyone I know, regardless of occupation, has parts of their job that they detest, but you do it because you want the paychecks. Maybe she should take a page out of Marshawn Lynch's playbook if she hates it that much. Or perhaps she could lead a movement among women tennis players have the WTA renegotiate the contracts to remove this duty from the job if they're willing to take a hit on the bottom line. It's ironic that Billie Jean King fought for the increased media coverage that Osaka despises.
                  I suspect when Billie Jean fought for greater coverage she was thinking more of actual matches than press conferences.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Atticus View Post
                    If an athlete/celebrity/anyone doesn't want to be interviewed by the press, that's their RIGHT [freedom of non-speech, as it were]. Get rid of the fines now, and then deal with the rules that exacerbate mental health issues.
                    It's part of the job and in her contract. The media wouldn't pay the tournament organizers so much if they couldn't get access to interview the athletes, and consequently the athletes would be paid less.

                    She has the right to decline to speak to the press, just like I have the right to decline to speak to my employer's distributors and suppliers. But then my employer has the right to dock my pay or fire me for that.

                    A $15,000 penalty isn't an unfair consequence; it's less than 0.1% of her annual earnings. I wish I could skip doing parts of my job and only get a 0.1% reduction in salary.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by 18.99s View Post
                      It's part of the job and in her contract.
                      But my point is - it should NOT be. No mental health professional is OK with this status quo, so why should we be? This is not a 'suck it up, snowflake' situation.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Atticus View Post
                        But my point is - it should NOT be. No mental health professional is OK with this status quo, so why should we be? This is not a 'suck it up, snowflake' situation.
                        If ordinary people can't or won't do part of their job because of a mental or physical health problem, they'll expect to collect less pay, or use up some of their vacation time to recover, or get suspended or demoted or fired.

                        Why should celebrities with an 8-figure income be exempt from such consequences? It's not like they're imposing a 1-year ban on her or anything of that magnitude.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by 18.99s View Post

                          It's part of the job and in her contract. The media wouldn't pay the tournament organizers so much if they couldn't get access to interview the athletes, and consequently the athletes would be paid less.
                          I don't think this is correct. Ms Osaka did an on-court interview after her first match. My understanding is that she was refusing to do press conferences. Is it the case that journalists at press conferences, and the media firms that they represent (largely the print media) pay for a place. My understanding is that Newspaper A applies for a press pass and the tournament chooses who and how many press passes they offer and little or no money is involved. The on-court interview would meet obligation to those who were paying significantly towards the tournament - the tournament sponsors and the TV broadcasters.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by deroki View Post

                            I don't think this is correct. Ms Osaka did an on-court interview after her first match. My understanding is that she was refusing to do press conferences. Is it the case that journalists at press conferences, and the media firms that they represent (largely the print media) pay for a place. My understanding is that Newspaper A applies for a press pass and the tournament chooses who and how many press passes they offer and little or no money is involved.
                            If the newspapers and other media companies get free access to press conferences with athletes, and the tournament organizers require the athletes to participate in order to get fully paid, that must mean those conferences are thought to be important for promoting the tournament and improving the organizer's bottom line. In which case the athletes' obligation would be to the organizers who pay them to play.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by 18.99s View Post
                              If ordinary people can't or won't do part of their job because of a mental or physical health problem, they'll expect to collect less pay, or use up some of their vacation time to recover, or get suspended or demoted or fired.
                              Why should celebrities with an 8-figure income be exempt from such consequences? It's not like they're imposing a 1-year ban on her or anything of that magnitude.
                              The Americans with Disabilities Act protects bodily impaired people, but because we can't see mental issues, we toss it off as less important, when it's actually just as important, if not more so.
                              People with physical and mental issues go into jobs with their eyes open, know what is expected of them, but that doesn't mean we should put them in harm's way. A tennis player should be expected to play tennis. If they have problems with contentious press, they should be able to find alternate methods, like written questions and answers. Everyone realizes that press relations are an important part of pro sports, but not at the expense of athletes with problems so bad that it forces them to stop playing.
                              I will be very disappointed (but not surprised) if this incident doesn't spark some changes in how we treat (at least) athletes suffering from clinical depression and anxiety (which has crossed far over the line from the helplessness/apathy and/or anxiety we all experience).

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by CookyMonzta View Post

                                Bad comparison. The Super Bowl is a championship game. Naomi pulled out after the first round of the French Open. Comparing a championship to a playoff round is like comparing a Lamborghini to a Yugo.
                                The fact that it was the first round and not the final is besides my point. She didn't get fined for withdrawing, she got fined for refusing to due the post-match press conference, a contractual obligation to the French Open and WTA. I'll bet there would have been no backlash had she withdrew from the final but still did all her press conferences. After all, athletes withdraw from matches all the time for injuries without controversy. It seems that Osaka would have been perfectly fine to play all 7 matches and win the tournament as long as she didn't have to do the part of the job she doesn't like. And as bambam pointed out, she had no problems continuing to do the interviews with Japanese media that she was paid extra for.

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