Russell Wilson has never shied away from defending athletes, and it was no different when Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open. Wilson was once more supportive.
Mental health is one of the touchiest subjects in the world, at times even more so with athletes. Osaka’s decision to withdraw came after a controversial time in the 2021 French Open where she would refuse to attend press conferences.
Osaka finally broke the silence on her behavior, announcing her withdrawal from the French Open. The decision is entirely related to her mental health. She didn’t want tennis weighing down on her at this time, and thus for herself and her well being, she chose to step out.
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 31, 2021
Russell Wilson, Serena Williams & Several Others Step Forward To Show Naomi Osaka Support
Osaka’s decision to step away must not have been an easy one. Tennis is the sport she loves, and when she plays, she’s representing an entire country. It’s hard to walk away from your passion at any point, and then have to deal with the potential disappoint you’d be causing your fans.
However, many people were openly supportive of Osaka’s decision including Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson:
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) May 31, 2021
She received support from US tennis star, rival, and friend Serena Williams as well:
“I feel for Naomi, and I wish I could give her a hug because I’ve been in those situations,” said Serena Williams. “You have to let her handle it the way she wants to in the best way she can.” https://t.co/hXrfD6hOmm
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 1, 2021
Overall, the response to her decision and support was overwhelming:
— Tishaura O. Jones (@tishaura) June 1, 2021
It takes courage to do what Naomi Osaka has done, taking a solid stand to protect her mental health against pot stirring media personalities and choosing not to participate in French Open. I also stand with her. Amazing athletes like her are human too.
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) June 1, 2021
All in all, the stand Naomi Osaka took was courageous. Athletes face so much social pressure to perform at the highest levels all the time to the point where sometimes it’s easy to overlook that they’re just as human as the rest of us.
Mental health within the sporting world is still a pervasive issue, for as many positive replies there are to situations like these, there are also a great number of negative responses. That’s why it’s important to support Osaka.
The more people recognize what she’s doing, the better the case for mental health within athletes becomes in the future.