June 1, 2021

Quiet, Please: How Naomi Osaka shocked the World of Tennis.


Naomi Osaka decided to take care of her mental health—which somehow turned into the latest scandal of an athlete being punished for doing the right thing.

Most of us remember how Colin Kaepernick’s career ended because he was expressing his support for Black Lives Matter. Will Naomi Osaka be the next athlete getting punished for speaking up?

Osaka, who openly talked about her depression in the past, decided not to give any interviews during the French Open this year. She wanted to focus on the sport and set an example for other athletes to take better care of mental health.

Interestingly, those who usually demand athletes, actors, and artists not to share their opinions in public are now offended by Osaka’s choice to stay silent.

Piers Morgan, who played a questionable role when bashing Meghan Markle earlier this year, couldn’t hold back and tweeted this statement:

After the organizers of the French Open fined Osaka for not fulfilling her media duties after her first match on Sunday, she decided to withdraw from the tournament. She apologized for stirring up this controversy and pointed out that after her leaving the competition, “Everyone could focus on tennis again.”

Serena Williams backed Osaka by saying, “I feel like I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it’s like. Like I said, I’ve been in those positions.” And I am sure that she is not the only athlete feeling this way.

Osaka is no stranger to controversies. Last year, she joined the Black Lives Matter protests and countered criticism with this powerful statement:

“Firstly, this is a human rights issue. Secondly, what gives you more right to speak than me? By that logic, if you work at Ikea, you are only allowed to talk about furniture?”

And now, she speaks up about mental health with the result that she had to withdraw from the competition?

The world of tennis is no stranger to silencing their athletes—ask Andre Agassi, Jennifer Capriati, and, of course, the William’s sisters.

The public needs to accept that athletes, actors, and artists are humans who have every right in the world to speak up—or stay silent—without any exceptions.

Why not talk about the mental health issues in the world of tennis? Why not talk about racism in sports? Why are athletes like Kaepernick or Osaka getting punished for speaking their truth?



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Image: Naomi Osaka/Twitter