Tennis star Osaka becomes the latest athlete to challenge sports norms

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Tennis star Naomi Osaka dramatically withdrew from the French Open after a dispute with the tournament authorities over post-match press responsibility. This highlights how a new generation of top athletes challenged the power of the league they played in and advocated for social change.

When announcing her decision, the second-ranked Osaka is the world’s highest-paid female athlete. She revealed that she has been struggling with depression and that she is taking care of herself to avoid being questioned. This is equivalent to “kicking people.” Coming down.”

“The truth is that since the 2018 U.S. Open, I have suffered a long-term depression, and it is really difficult for me to deal with it,” Osaka wrote on Twitter, adding that she will suspend the sport for a while, but specifically The time is unknown. .

“So in Paris, I already feel vulnerable and anxious, so I think it’s best to take care of myself and skip the press conference… I do feel that the rules are outdated in some ways, and I want to emphasize this.”

This incident caused repercussions in the sports world because it highlighted the generational shift between athletes willing to abide by the long-term norms set by sports authorities and young players willing to participate in social activities and talk directly with fans on social media.

Many sports stars gathered behind Osaka. American basketball star Stephen Curry expressed his “high respect” to Osaka for “walking the road without the power of protecting itself.” Tennis champion Serena Williams said she hopes to embrace Osaka because she knows what it’s like to fight the pressure of the game, while women’s tennis pioneer Billie Jane King said she was “very brave.”

The French Open and other “Grand Slam” tennis events require players to participate in a post-match press conference. Traditional media contact with players is one of the main ways for organizers to promote events on TV and the media.

But some players question the utility of this appearance. Osaka was fined $15,000 for failing to appear in front of the media after winning the first round on Sunday and was threatened with tougher sanctions, including the possibility of being kicked out of the game.

When she initially stated on May 26 that she would not be interviewed during the game, she did not disclose her mental health issues. It is not clear if she notified the game before she quit.

Four days later, the four Grand Slam tournaments stated in a joint statement that they had tried [Osaka] Check her health, understand the specifics of her problem and what measures can be taken to solve the problem on the spot.”

Soon after, the French Open published a tweet praising the players who participated in the press conference such as Spanish player Nadal and American player Goff, and wrote: “They understand the task.” It was later deleted.

The President of the French Tennis Federation Gilles Moretton made a more soothing remark on Tuesday, saying: “First of all, we are sorry and sad for Osaka Naomi. We hope she can recover as soon as possible… and continue. Committed to the well-being of all athletes.”

A new era of athlete activism began in 2016, when NFL player Colin Kaepernick kneeled on one knee in the American national anthem before the game to protest police brutality, and he was actually rejected by the league for this.

The Black Lives Matter movement and the coronavirus pandemic have given players from the National Basketball Association to the English Premier League a new sense of urgency to publicly promote their concerns. This led to a liquidation within the sports management agency, who relied on the star power of top athletes to attract fans and promote business development.

The 24-year-old Osaka was born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father in Japan, and grew up there and the United States. The frontier of this transformationLast year, she attended the US Open wearing a mask bearing the names of black victims of American police brutality, including Brenna Taylor.

According to Forbes, Osaka is the winner of four Grand Slam championships and the highest-paid female athlete in the world. The income in 2020 is 37 million U.S. dollars, mainly from corporate sponsors such as Nike, All Nippon Airways and Nissan.

She was expected to participate in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, and the organizers hope that Osaka will bring glory to the host country. It is not clear when she will return to court.

In Japan, which has a passionate fan base in Osaka, she withdrew from the French Open and reached the highest political echelon in the country.

“We should watch the situation calmly now [until she recovers],” Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu said.

Sports marketing expert Tim Crow said that corporate sponsors are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with post-match press conferences and their often hostile tone.

“This is part of the job… but like all these things, we are in a world where people start to question these norms and ask,’Is there a better way to do these things?'” he said. “In Naomi’s mental health issue, this is not in the interests of athletes. What we are talking about here is sports. It is not a cure for cancer, nor is it a matter of life or death.”

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