Mental Health Issues Affect Everyone, So Why Are We Less Accommodating To Women and People of Colour?

Adebayo Adeniran
4 min readJun 1, 2021

The treatment of Naomi Osaka and Meghan Markle is disgusting and speaks to the grotesque nature of journalism, which allows middle aged white men, to act appallingly. And wider society isn’t any better.

Naomi Osaka via Wikimedia commons

When Naomi Osaka initially said that she wasn’t going to do press at the French open, the usual daggers, came out, severely criticizing her decision. The organizers of the French open, doubled down and threatened her with expulsion. And given the formidable person that Naomi Osaka is, she withdrew altogether.

The statement that she put out, in the aftermath of her withdrawal, in light of the events of the last few days was extraordinary.

The best thing for the tournament and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis in Paris. I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.

“The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that. Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that has seen me at the tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps my social anxiety.”

Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I wanna apologize especially to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media,” Osaka wrote. “I find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best answers I can. I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences. I wrote privately to the tournament apologizing and saying that I would be more than happy to speak with them after the tournament.

Usually those who ask the questions at these press conferences, tend to more often than not, white middle aged males, who take great exception to anyone who doesn’t fit into their narrative, in terms of aesthetics or personality. This is evinced by examples given below.

Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on as many subjects as possible