As though Naomi Osaka couldn’t demonstrate any more grace in the face of aggressive trolls, she somehow did it again in the form of a simple block on social media.
Osaka has been very public about how anxious she feels about press conferences, and she withdrew from the French Open as the tournament was unwilling to compromise on the obligation. The fact that Osaka has continued in public life, rather than take her racket home and stop making money, has been quite offensive to some on the right.
There are a lot of facets to this story, and the tradition of on-site press conferences has been a very useful one, as women’s tennis fought for a share of the sports page, but you can’t take issue with this; Osaka’s description of the way it feels to her. It’s something you have to respect.
There is nothing about Osaka that makes it seem as though she is manipulating fans by discussing her mental health, nor trying to get one over on a tennis tournament. She put her money on her convictions, and took herself out of the running for a Grand Slam title.
Mental health is something that has been immensely important at this particular moment in the national conversation. There are plenty of people who can relate. We have had our lives disrupted by the coronavirus, moved out of classrooms and into digital Zoom boxes. Isolated and denied long-planned graduations, new jobs, travel, weddings, and birthday celebrations. It takes a toll. That Osaka talked about her own internal life, it might allow many of us to talk about our own.
So to the block. We wouldn’t even have known about it if it weren’t for the blockee, an exiled Fox News broadcaster named Megyn Kelly, best known for getting worked up over the suggestion that Jesus or Santa might be Black. Kelly was harrumphing about Osaka’s presence on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition, and on other magazines, given Osaka’s discussion of mental health. Osaka responded that the covers were shot before the French Open, then told Kelly to “do better” in a now-deleted tweet.
Lo, the rage.
“Poor @naomiosaka blocked me while taking a shot at me (guess she’s only tough on the courts). She is apparently arguing that she shot her many covers b/4 publicly claiming she was too socially anxious to deal w/press. Truth is she just doesn’t like Qs she can’t control. Admit it.”
Kelly once claimed to be a journalist, but that tweet shows she has become just another bully. The mocking use of “poor” as an adjective, suggesting she isn’t “tough,” and refusing to believe Osaka’s description of how she experiences anxiety. Kelly even rejects a factual timeline that disproves her assumptions, something a journalist doesn’t do.
Middle-school bully Nelson Muntz from The Simpsons might have said something similar to Bart in the schoolyard. Kelly blithely perpetuates the stigma that would keep players like Osaka from ever speaking out, and with 2.4 million followers, alerts them that they might be to reach Osaka where Kelly can’t.
Source link: deadspin.com