What Naomi Osaka’s Withdrawal from the French Open Says about Athletes and the Media

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PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 30: Naomi Osaka of Japan plays a forehand in her First Round match against Patricia Maria Tig of Romania during Day One of the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros on May 30, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

When four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open on Monday, her decision set off a flurry of reaction well beyond the world of tennis. Before the tournament began, Osaka announced she would not be doing any post-match press conferences, a decision that cost her $15,000 in fines and resulted in threats from other Grand Slams of future punishment and possible expulsion for failure to talk to the media. In response, Osaka issued a statement withdrawing from the tournament, saying she has been suffering from “long bouts of depression.” Her sponsors and athletes like NBA star Steph Curry have lauded her candid response. Critics have argued that press is part of the game. What obligations do professional athletes have to the press, and what responsibility does the press have to them?

Guests:

Ann Killion, sports columnist, San Francisco Chronicle

Louisa Thomas, staff writer, New Yorker Magazine

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