Why can’t we take a woman of color at her word? Why can’t we understand the mental elements of someone exhibiting factors of anxiety, depression, introversion and fear of public speaking during a pivotal time in their life? We’ve heard the phrase continuously for years, “No means no,” but choose when it’s appropriate. How can we, as the media, tell you when it is or isn’t appropriate to protect your mental health?
What Naomi Osaka revealed to the world about her mental health struggles is a serious issue millions deal with. We have seen time and time again is people are afraid to reveal their own insecurities around the disease due to backlash, misconceptions and public ridicule. Not only did Naomi announce that she’s been dealing with the disorder since the U.S. Open in 2018, but she openly discussed how it has affected her mentally and physically.
Furthermore, Naomi went in depth about how following obligations to speak with the press she gets nervous – triggering her anxiety. How selfish is it for the media, and more specifically the French Open, to put their views and clicks over someone’s mental health? That’s the real point being made this week. Should we require athletes to speak with the media? Are they contractually obligated to fulfill these requirements? Most of the time, contracts and endorsements require to athletes to speak, but where is the line drawn?
Our system is designed to treat women and men equally, but we know that isn’t the case. Fining a woman who refused to speak because of depression, anxiety and her own mental health is beyond blasphemous.
Think about this notion…The same woman of color has been scrutinized when speaking against systematic oppression, racism against people of color and unfair treatment from law enforcement towards blacks. Then, the same media wanted her to shut up and play, because they were concerned it would hurt their pockets. But when this same woman is dealing with depression and anxiety, they want to overlook the mental ramifications of it and force her to speak. What a world we live in.
Respectfully, when a woman (especially a woman of color) says “No,” respect her decision and never question its sincerity.