Matchpoint for Mental Health?
When Roland Garros punished Naomi Osaka, brands were quick to show their support for the tennis player. While the Grand Slam scored a double foul, Calm, the wellbeing app, scored an ace!
Do high-performing athletes also have the right to a break in the routine? Do we protect people enough from the cause and consequences of bad mental health?
This week clearly, there was a very high net between both sides of the field.
On one side the Grand Slam association and their statement after Naomi Osaka quitted Roland Garros who published a statement where they considered Osaka was getting an unfair advantage:
” As a sport there is nothing more important than ensuring no player has an unfair advantage over another, which unfortunately is the case in this situation if one player refuses to dedicate time to participate in media commitments while the others all honour their commitments. “
On the other side, there was Osaka herself, her sponsors, and brands who do not have any affiliation with the player but decided to voice their opinion in her favor. Including Calm, who ran a greatly timed campaign and offered to donate the value of any fines to Laureus, a French organization that help young people overcome mental health issues through sport.
The overwhelming support given to Osaka and the success of campaigns made by brands such as Nike, Mastercard, or Sweetgreen have increased the interest in the subject even further.
With tv ratings and media credentials requests dropping, did Osaka’s decision and the Grand Slam response started the end of the classical press conference format in sport?