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What are absolute shitheads saying about Naomi Osaka? A handy guide

Sometimes, when you’re depressed, the best thing you can do for yourself is to push yourself to do the thing you most dread. Other times, though, the best thing you can do is to avoid that anxiety-causing thing altogether — cancel that appointment, turn down that work assignment, whatever it is — and take refuge in a place that’s safe for you. Even if some people think you’re being a diva about it.

That’s what tennis star Naomi Osaka did last week, announcing that she would not be doing any interviews with the press while she was competing in the French Open. The officials, who consider dealing with the press to be part of the duties of the players, fined her some $15,000; a few days later she dropped out of the French Open entirely to protect her mental health.

Surprisingly, the fans and the press didn’t turn on her for this decision, recognizing that for Osaka the press duties were harder than playing tennis in the first place, and that when you’re dealing with depression — the malady Osake is dealing with — it’s best to avoid those things that you know will trigger that depression. Indeed, many in the press praised Osake for her courage in standing up for herself, damn the consequences, and suggested that her actions could help to inspire more serious discussions about athletes and their mental health, particularly when it involves things other than simply playing the game as best you can.

Osake is a professional tennis player, after all, not a press secretary, and post-game interviews are generally unproductive and a waste of time for all concerned. How much sense does it make to grit one’s teeth and go ahead with something that makes you miserable, that’s somewhat pointless, and that doesn’t reflect your real skills as an athlete.

There were, however, some who didn’t get the memo on this, and they stepped forth to mock and criticize Osaka’s actions based on the premise that as a sports star you need to do whatever unpleasant shit is loaded on to you, regardless of your health, physical and/or mental. These are the people who think the point of sports is suffering and sacrifice, and the more they can add to this burden on athletes, the better.

Here are a few examples of these unreconstructed views. (I’ve bolded the worst insults.)

First, let’s take a look a professional asshole and TV personality Piers Morgan. who went all-out in a column for the Daily Mail, attacking “Narcissistic Naomi” for what the headline of his piece described as her “cynical exploitation of mental health to silence the media.”

He also called her

an arrogant spoiled brat whose fame and fortune appears to have inflated her ego to gigantic proportions.

There’s more! He also also called her “petulant” and denounced her statements about her mental health as an “orgy [!?] of narcissistic twaddle.”

He ended with:

And I’m sorry (not really…) if this offends any of the delicate little snowflakes out there who believe all this self-serving garbage, but Osaka’s antics stink of a stupendous ego raging out control.

Well, Morgan would certainly know all about having a “stupendous ego raging out of control.”

On to daffy right-wing ideologue Candace Owens, who tweeted:

Several hours later, perhaps sensing that the winds weren’t blowing her way on this issue, Owens did a quick reverse, declaring that

Naomi Osaka made the right decision. Mental illness is serious and it is always an act of courage to step away to deal with personal issues. Emphasis on the word personal

Whatever that last bit means.

Now: Sports talker Ben Maller, who declared that she was “no hero” but rather

a villain in this story … she ended up taking a spot from some up-and-coming tennis player that could have made their mark at Roland Garros … That makes this a selfish act by Naomi Osaka, and making it all about herself … those are the actions of a spoiled brat.

Australian sports writer Will Swanton, who called her a “diva” and blasted what he called her “immaturity, preciousness and hypocrisy.”

Trailblazer? Come off it. Try princess. … Osaka has begun to think of herself as above the sport. … Her stance is petulant; not even Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova have been so uppity. 

UK sports writer Oliver Brown, who said he had to read her statement

several times before being convinced it was not a parody. … But it would be difficult to imagine a more risible example of athlete entitlement than this little speech, or a more needlessly-wounding PR own goal. … her actions represent less a mental health crusade than diva-esque behaviour at its worst.

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Greg Couch also went with “diva.”

Naomi Osaka is just a diva now. She could have meant so much more. She was going to be the face of women’s sports, tennis’ transition from Serena Williams, and a social justice warrior. Instead, well, she’s full of BS, just like so many others who made too much money, became too famous too fast, became too full of themselves and lost touch with reality.

Athletes taking care of their mental heath as best they know how is certainly preferable to listening to these patronizing and even somewhat sadistic views. Sports is about sports; it shouldn’t be about punishing athletes by forcing them to play with injuries or to indulge in draining and depressing publicity work at the very moment they are winding down from playing the game. Osaka is being courageous to put her mental health first, and I hope many others follow in her footsteps.

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1 year ago

Roger Federer swore at the referee during the 2009 US Open and ranted at him for several minutes. Federer thought Del Potro had waited too long before challenging a call yet was still allowed to do so. I think he may have gotten a fine after the match but no penalties during the match.

But sure, Serena Williams was unprofessional for calling the referee a thief after a dubious point penalty and then objecting to being given a game penalty for doing so. And the point penalty was for something her coach had (allegedly) done and not her.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meani


Someone at the time that happened thought to interview some of the legendary male tennis stars from the 1980-90’s who were renowned almost as much for their tantrums as for their talent, e.g. John McEnroe and company. To a man they said (paraphrased) Serena’s actions in that incident were no worse than what they pulled off during their respective heydays, and that she shouldn’t have been punished that severely when all they ever got were slaps on the wrist for similar behavior.

How much difference those statements made in the overall furor I don’t know. Not that much of a tennis geek to find that out.

Xennial Dot Warner
Xennial Dot Warner
1 year ago

So. They’re coming right out and calling three women, two of whom are black, “uppity.” As in: outright saying “uppity.” We always knew they were insinuating it; but, apparently, they’re coming right out and saying it now. Others have already been over it, but…just saying the quiet part out loud now, I see.

Last edited 1 year ago by Xennial Dot Warner
Full Metal Ox
1 year ago

@Lakitha K Tolbert:

Yeah I knew that isht was going to happen. I still have not forgotten that drawing that that one bigot did, with Serena as a monstrous ogre, and Osaka as a dainty and delicate blonde girl.

@Big Titty Demon:

Yeah, I still remember that one too. The news coverage on that one never pointed out Osaka didn’t even have dyed blonde hair at that time, she had natural hair, there’s literally no way someone can have been actually making any other comment except a racist one by drawing the two of them in that juxtaposition. Like she didn’t have any resemblance whatsoever to the other figure, it was just Serena the Ogre vs. Generic White Long-Haired Blonde Tennis Lady.

I take it that this is the Serena (at left) they would have preferred?

(“Serena” was Sailor Moon’s name in the English dub; the original makes it clear that she’s a Japanese named Usagi, although I’m told that there were young Western viewers unaware of the existence of Tokyo Tower who assumed that Sailor Moon was set in Paris.)

1 year ago

love it when someone uses the word “uppity” and i immediately know they’re full of it and should be avoided, how is he using that in 2021 to refer to a woman/women of color and not lose his job

epitome of incomrepehensibility

Echoing everyone on the word “uppity.” Just no, please.

And I don’t know the athlete, but she was being quite un-selfish by offering to donate the amount of the fine to a mental health charity. Granted, it was also a dig against the officials, but a deserved one. Who is really being “oversensitive” to criticism here?

1 year ago

@Surplus : you’re wrong about theses car makers. Or rather, you believe their communication too much. Their cars are marginally better than Tesla (it’s not too hard !), but they cannot drive without a driver. For the same reason that planes cannot (and plane are a lot easier to do because there’s more freedom of movement and less other things to avoid), and that drones use human operators. Strange cases happen *much* too often.

The statistic they cite might even be exact, since it’s worded in a way that humans don’t grasp well. Looking at car use statistic, it seem to be more than 30 time the amount of accident for humans, which is a significantly less good statistic suddenly.

But more importantly, they didn’t fix the main problem with neural network : you litteraly cannot tweak a neural network, and only partially choose what the neural network do. The behavior out of your tests will be widly unpredictible, and nobody can poke a nose in the code to make it more predictable. Without an out to that, neural networks cannot safely drive a car, nor can they replace journalists or do, well, mostly anything that humans do themselves currently.

Do you have seen that guy who trapped self driving car with paint ? Do you remember theses medical neural network that give bad results for black people ? That’s what happen when a neural network is even slightly out of the data he was trained on.

The job of the people training AI is often litteraly impossible ; it’s easy to say to them that they should train against theses two problems, but they also need to find a way to be foolproof and test against every single prank or singularity, since, you know, people will die if they fail to do that.

We may be tantalizing close to self driving car, but it’s the same kind of tantalizing close to fusion plants : we lack an important part of the requirements for it to work.

There’s a secondary reason you widly underestimate : neural network training currently is very expensive. That’s not a strike against autonomous cars because the same software can be used by millions of cars, but your specialized AI that make sport article will cost a lot to create, and might still cost more than humans in upkeep.

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
1 year ago


I’m not going to dignify most of your aggressive rant with a response. But I will rebut a few particular points:

Their cars are marginally better than Tesla (it’s not too hard !), but they cannot drive without a driver.

According to the data I cited, some can drive over 10,000 km without a driver before getting into trouble and having to stop and yell for help. That might not be perfect, but it’s “good enough for private-sector work”, I expect.

[long digression about neural networks]

AFAIK it’s not neural networks driving these cars. It’s conventional software, though it may call neural network “subroutines” to do certain things, like recognize and interpret street signs.

Do you remember theses medical neural network that give bad results for black people ?

No, and not relevant, since the ones I was referring to were interpreting MRIs and similar scans that show tissue density, not skin color. Everyone is “passing for white” on an MRI.

your specialized AI that make sport article will cost a lot to create

How fortunate, then, that it already exists.

Well, not so fortunate for the copywriters it will put out of work.

neural networks cannot safely drive a car

Oops — better revoke every driver’s license that’s ever been issued to a human, then!

On a meta note, it seems that you have a raging hate-boner for automation, or maybe specifically for that subset classed as some form of “AI”. You don’t seem capable of rationally discussing the topic, to judge by the aggressive tone and namecalling that emerges whenever you post a knee-jerk response to anyone’s mention of anything related.

Why is that?

1 year ago

AI is not going to replace MR techs or radiologists any time soon. Incidentally, MR techs operate the scanners and do some forms of post-processing but do not interpret the images.

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
1 year ago

I will probably regret this, but…

Surplus, I read over all three (as of me typing this) of Ohlmann’s comments, and I see no evidence of an “aggressive rant”, nor any “name calling”, from him. Am I really missing something here?

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
1 year ago

Perhaps you overlooked the bit where he basically called me a gullible ignoramus?

Certainly it seems he will not tolerate differing opinions on the state of progress in that field, for whatever reason. He responds to such as if they were contradicting well-established fact, and this even when it’s the other side who has been able to furnish tables, charts, and other empirical data to support their claim. Arguing with him on this topic feels like arguing with a creationist — something I never expected to encounter here, aside from when we get a troll to bat around for a while. (And that has not happened for a long time, come to think of it; I wonder why?)

Big Titty Demon
Big Titty Demon
1 year ago

But more importantly, they didn’t fix the main problem with neural network : you litteraly cannot tweak a neural network, and only partially choose what the neural network do. The behavior out of your tests will be widly unpredictible, and nobody can poke a nose in the code to make it more predictable.

I’m sorry, come again? The entire field of AI research doesn’t exist?

It’ll come as news to some in my group, I’ll tell them to stop poking their noses into that kind of code!

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
1 year ago

@ Surplus,

I honestly don’t know why I’m defending Ohlmann. It’s not that I think his comment was pure sweetness and light. And I’m not usually one to argue on the internet. Did he call you a gullible ignoramus? Your call; it was addressed to you so I can’t, and won’t, tell you how to feel or how to interpret his words.

But I did also see you call him an aggressive name-caller who had a “raging hate-boner”. And you have a history of coming in swinging with furious answers when people disagree with you (or heck, offer advice you’ve asked for; it has been the case on many a thread.)

I have stopped following comment threads, or not commented at all, because your angry rants made me me too scared to poke my head up. And I felt bad, when that happened, for not saying something.

I think I’m going to stop watching this thread and move on to others. I’m feeling sick with anxiety over addressing this with you and I know that’s not good for me (nor does it bode well for the reasonableness of my posts!) I do wish you well; I hope you know that from other threads. I don’t think you’re a jerk, even though I disagree with you here.

1 year ago

David, please put down the o-sake and correct your typos.

Randolph L.Burns
1 year ago

So glad that she shut Candace Owens and Pierce Morgan the f******
I would love to see Naomi Osaka

beat the s*** out of Candace in real life….. And she couldtake on that p**** Pierce Morgan with no problem at all

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