Hello Idiots! ✊
Here are my thoughts on a tennis news story that shouldn’t be a news story but is a news story anyway because tennis is full of snobs and people LOVE to be mad online at stuff.
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Naomi Osaka is the number 2 women’s tennis single in the world according to Google.com.
Last week she gave everyone a polite heads up that she wouldn’t be doing any press at the French Open this year, citing mental health issues (namely anxiety and depression).
On Sunday, after winning her first match, she was fined $15K by the powers that be for refusing to talk to the media.
On Monday she withdrew from the tournament.
The powers that be are the organizers of the Grand Slams tournament and apparently they viewed Osaka’s actions “as a threat to their overall product.”
On Tuesday, in a stroke of common sense, they issued a heartfelt apology.
Just kidding. They published a 228-word statement on their website that said exactly nothing.
Whatever damage they thought Osaka was going to do by not talking to the media, I’m sure it’s nothing compared to the damage they’ve done to themselves by fumbling what should have ultimately been a non-issue.
I can say with a reasonable degree of certainty that I would not be sitting here writing about Naomi Osaka whilst sipping my iced coffee on a casual weekday morning had it not been for their (over)reaction.
Or maybe this was just genius marketing by the Grand Slams puppet-masters? Any press is good press, right?
Osaka has predictably received a ton of support for standing her ground, as she should.
My only complaint is she didn’t stick around and win the whole goddamn thing right in their pretentious fat faces.
I truly empathize with Osaka and the mental health struggle. Anxiety and depression are no joke. I struggle myself and I think it’s cool that she’s open about it. That’s not an easy thing to do.
So, I’ve got her back on this one.
I’ve also long held the belief that if an athlete doesn’t want to talk to the media, they shouldn’t be forced to.
REGARDLESS of external factors like mental health.
That belief is held not for empathetic reasons, personal experience, or some fanatic pro-athlete/anti-media agenda. Who has the time to be a fanatic, seriously?
It’s held for pragmatic (i.e., selfish) reasons.
Thinking pragmatically - what is the media going to miss out on? A 30-second sound bite of an athlete saying they “took it one game at a time” and “stuck to the gameplan” and it was a “team effort” and “everyone was really pulling on the same side of the rope”?
F*** that! Nobody wants to hear those auto-answers!
It’s boring for everyone. The athlete. The media. The sport. The fans. You. Worse of all ME!
I’ve heard the same words regurgitated so many times I’m thinking of starting my own PR firm! How hard can it be?
Do you want to talk about “threat to the overall product”?
Those canned lines are the real threat. It leads to content that reads/sounds like it was produced for and by the local high school newspaper.
See: Major League Baseball.
Some people are just built differently. They’re there to smoke their opponents in tennis, hit balls over fences, put balls in nets, sell jerseys, and put asses in seats. They’re not wired to be giving interviews.
Why try to artificially extract content from them when there is NO SHORTAGE of entertainment machines (read: narcissists) who NEED to be in front of the camera the same way a social justice warrior NEEDS to be upset at something?
The storylines write themselves, just let them happen and document.
That’s what the people want. Give it to them!
TL;DR: Tennis snobs need to chill the f*** out.
P.P.S. “I hope the considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity. xoxo ✌♥” - Naomi Osaka, May 26 (the tweet below was the heads up I was referring to at the top).
Hey - pretentious Grand Slam douchebags - I want to see receipts!
Thanks for reading! ✊