Osaka’s Refusal

The reader may feel free to take my comments on the Naomi Osaka case with a grain of salt, or point out any gaps in my thinking in the comments on Facebook. I don’t know much about the budding young tennis star, and certainly nothing about what she’s like as a person. So, she may have had her reasons.
On the one hand, I totally understand not wanting to talk to reporters, even though I hadn’t thought about this being an actual requirement before. If it is treated as such, and I’m guessing in light of this incident it probably is, then that helps to explain why players after the game interviews suck so badly. After all, they aren’t trained as public speakers. They aren’t politicians running for office.
So, she told the officials at the French Open that she wasn’t going to talk to reporters because she was worried about her mental health. Which, on the one hand, could be the totally sane thing to say. But then they kept after her and she bailed on the French Open entirely.
That could be a sign of weakness. Or arrogance and an anti-social attitude. Or maybe it’s a legit complaint and she’s just the first player to make an issue out of it.
In any case, I don’t think athletes (or actors) should ever be forced to talk to the media. Their job is to show up and play their hearts out, because there is a primal instinct in human beings to revel in contests of strength and athletic ability, which goes back way further that the ancient Greeks. What athletes do out on the field, or the court in this case, is just as valid whether they talk about it or not.

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