French Open should just kick Naomi Osaka OUT over media boycott says Fox Sports’ Rob Parker


Naomi Osaka was fined $15,000 after she skipped the news conference for ‘mental health’ reasons following her first-round victory at the French Open on Sunday. 

The star was blasted by sports reporters including Fox Sports Radio host Rob Parker who said the French Open should just tell Osaka not to show up for the tournament if she could not face answering questions. 

‘If I was running the French Open, I’d tell her to stay home,’ Parker said on Fox Sports Radio. ‘I’d tell her take care of your mental health. You can’t come here and not participate in what we do. 

Naomi Osaka was hit with a $15,000 fine for not doing a post-match conference on Sunday

Fox Sports Radio host Rob Parker right, suggested the French Open should have told Osaka not to show up for the tournament

Fox Sports Radio host Rob Parker right, suggested the French Open should have told Osaka not to show up for the tournament

‘I wish these athletes would stop this attack of the media as if we’re the worst people on earth,’ Parker continued. ‘You would be afraid to live in this world without the gatekeepers and the people who are watching out for the small man, and the little man in this world.

‘This whole notion that is is mentally taxing to answer a few questions about tennis so your fans know how you feel going into the match, like it’s such a nuisance… oh it’s soo taxing!’ Parker mocked.

‘I’m not trying to make light of her talking about her mental health,’ Parker said. ‘If she has issues, stay home and get well! You signed up for this! Go work at the post office and people won’t ask you questions other than ‘How much is a stamp?’

‘This comes with the job. Really? Answer a few questions and then go on with your life. Is it really that taxing? Come on!’ 

Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates her victory over Patricia Maria Èig of Romania in the first round of the women's singles at Roland Garros on Sunday, in Paris

Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates her victory over Patricia Maria Èig of Romania in the first round of the women’s singles at Roland Garros on Sunday, in Paris

Tennis players are required to attend news conferences if requested to do so. The maximum fine, of course, is not a big deal to Osaka, the world’s highest-earning female athlete thanks to endorsement contracts totaling tens of millions of dollars. 

On Wednesday she declared on social media she would not speak to the press and on Sunday kept that promise. 

Her refusal to take part in the after-match press conference drew a stunning warning from all four Grand Slam tournaments that she could face stiffer penalties, including disqualification or even suspension, if she continues to avoid the media.  

Hours later, Osaka turned to her preferred method of communication these days, tweeting: ‘anger is a lack of understanding. change makes people uncomfortable.’  

Hours later, Osaka turned to her preferred method of communication these days, tweeting: 'anger is a lack of understanding. change makes people uncomfortable.'

Hours later, Osaka turned to her preferred method of communication these days, tweeting: ‘anger is a lack of understanding. change makes people uncomfortable.’

 

  

'This whole notion that is is mentally taxing to answer a few questions about tennis so your fans know how you feel going into the match, like it's such a nuisance... oh it's soo taxing!' Parker mocked. Answer a few questions and then go on with your life. Is it really that taxing? Come on!'

‘This whole notion that is is mentally taxing to answer a few questions about tennis so your fans know how you feel going into the match, like it’s such a nuisance… oh it’s soo taxing!’ Parker mocked. Answer a few questions and then go on with your life. Is it really that taxing? Come on!’

13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal said he respected Osaka's right to take a stance but explained that he considered speaking to reporters as 'part of the job'

13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal said he respected Osaka’s right to take a stance but explained that he considered speaking to reporters as ‘part of the job’

She framed the matter as a mental health issue, saying that it can create self-doubt to have to answer questions after a loss.

‘She’s capable of making her own choices and obviously she will do always what’s best for her,’ Tig said. ‘I think that’s what’s happening now.’

Osaka returned to Roland Garros after sitting out the tournament last year and turned in a mistake-filled 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over 63rd-ranked Patricia Maria Tig at Court Philippe Chatrier on Day 1 of the tournament. 

Other players, notably 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal and No. 1-ranked Ash Barty, have said they respect Osaka’s right to take a stance but explained that they consider speaking to reporters part of the job.

The fine was assessed by the tournament referee at Roland Garros and announced in a joint statement from the president of the French tennis federation, Gilles Moretton, and counterparts at the sport’s other majors: Tennis Australia President Jayne Hrdlicka, All England Club Chairman Ian Hewitt and U.S. Tennis Association President Mike McNulty. 

‘The Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open jointly wrote to her to check on her well-being and offer support, underline their commitment to all athletes’ well-being and suggest dialogue,’ the statement read.

‘She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players.

‘Naomi Osaka today chose not to honor her contractual media obligations. The Roland Garros referee has therefore issued her a $15,000 fine.’   

Japan's Naomi Osaka returns the ball to Romania's Patricia Maria Tig during their first round match at the Roland Garros stadium Sunday, May 30, 2021 in Paris

Japan’s Naomi Osaka returns the ball to Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig during their first round match at the Roland Garros stadium Sunday, May 30, 2021 in Paris

Naomi Osaka released a statement saying she would boycott the press at the French Open

The world No 2 cited mental health concerns as the reason behind her decision

Osaka released a statement last week saying she would boycott the press at the French Open, citing mental health concerns as the reason behind her decision

‘A core element of the Grand Slam regulations is the responsibility of the players to engage with the media, whatever the result of their match, a responsibility which players take for the benefit of the sport, the fans and for themselves,’ they said. ‘These interactions allow both the players and the media to share their perspective and for the players to tell their story.’

They said they understand the importance of protecting athletes’ mental health but also noted that ‘rules are in place to ensure all players are treated exactly the same, no matter their stature, beliefs or achievement.’

The statement said Osaka had been approached and asked to reconsider her position but there was a ‘lack of engagement.’

Osaka, the group of Slam leaders said, has been ‘advised’ that ‘should she continue to ignore her media obligations during the tournament, she would be exposing herself to possible further Code of Conduct infringement consequences.’

Citing the rule book, the statement noted that ‘tougher sanctions’ from ‘repeat violations’ could include being defaulted from the tournament and ‘the trigger of a major offense investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions.’

The world No 2 did agree to do her on-court interview after beating Patricia Maria Tig but later refused to hold a conference as she stuck to her pledge to boycott her media duties in Paris

The world No 2 did agree to do her on-court interview after beating Patricia Maria Tig but later refused to hold a conference as she stuck to her pledge to boycott her media duties in Paris

After her win, Osaka did go ahead with the perfunctory exchange of pleasantries with an on-court French Open ‘interviewer’ who lobs softball questions so spectators can hear something from the athletes.

 ‘It’s a work in progress. Hopefully the more I play the better I play,’ she said about her game

‘I’m really glad that I won. It’s a beautiful court. I’ve only played two matches here (on Philippe Chatrier), one before the roof and one now, so hopefully I’ll keep it going.’

According to sports business website Sportico, Osaka earned $55.2 million over the past 12 months. She has previously used her platform and considerable media attention to highlight issues of police violence and racial inequality.

While announcing her decision on Twitter to boycott news conferences she said she hoped the ‘considerable amount’ that she expected to forfeit as fines would go towards a mental health charity.

Osaka edged past Romanian Tig (above) with a 6-4 7-6 (4) victory on Sunday morning

Osaka edged past Romanian Tig (above) with a 6-4 7-6 (4) victory on Sunday morning





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