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Plot twist. Sporting superstars are only human | TICKER VIEWS

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Tennis superstar, Naomi Osaka, shocked the world when she withdrew from the French Open, citing mental health struggles.

Should elite athletes be allowed to forfeit press responsibilities?

According to AFL legend and mental health advocate Wayne Schwass, yes. He believes it was a brave move from Osaka, and draws much needed attention to others suffering in silence.

“I applaud her for having the maturity to prioritise her mental health an emotional wellbeing.

It’s a timely reminder, you can have a lot of money, a lot of fame, but it doesn’t mean you’re immune from these kinds of conditions”

Wayne schwass

Osaka’s decision to refuse the traditional press conference came with mixed emotions. The Tennis Federation initially responded with expressions of disappointment. Grand Slam officials went as far as threatening Osaka from future tournaments. There’s no doubt the media and the sponsors are a driving financial force behind the Tennis going ahead. With this, they consistently expect commitment from the players and the media demand comes with the role. Journalists are doing their job, by asking the questions.

But a few questions to consider:

If someone at this level is vulnerable enough to speak up, is criticising that person the right response?

Will shaming Osaka deter others who are suffering, from speaking up?

If Osaka presented with a physical health concern, would she have received a different response

In sports, mental health, is often not given the same recognition or compassion as physical injuries. There are no plaster casts or crutches that can be used to signal mental illness. In a bold move, more athletes at this level are sharing their silent mental health struggles. Many sports now incorporate programs to support players and athletes mental health. If you consider the NFL, the NBA, the AFL, swimming or any other sporting league, there are many reports of athletes struggling with their mental health.

Schwass believes any criticism leads to discrimination… which leads to stigma… and it needs to stop.

“We don’t discriminate against people that have other legitimate health conditions, so we must stop doing it to people that have legitimate mental health conditions.”

Wayne Schwass

Naomi Osaka, a 23-year-old tennis superstar, a young woman, but most of all a human. So, let’s hope she finds peace and health in all aspects of her life. Let’s stand with her in support during the tough times, just as we would stand with her in celebration of another Grand Slam Title.

If you, or anyone you know is struggling, please contact your local helpline.

Holly is an anchor and reporter at Ticker. She's experienced in live reporting, and has previously covered the Covid-19 pandemic on-location. She's passionate about telling stories in business, climate and health.

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China hides maskless crowd by editing World Cup broadcast

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China has made an effort to hide the rest of the world from its citizens by editing out crowd scenes from World Cup coverage

A China coverup has come to light as the country attempts to censor its World Cup broadcast.

Protests against China’s strict zero-covid strategy are engulfing its major cities, as Chinese TV feeds are edited to steer clear of crowd scenes.

State television removed camera shots of maskless crowd goers and instead shows closeups of coaches and players.

This has its citizens questioning why the rest of the world is getting on with normality, while they remain under strict lockdown.

The World Cup comes at a turbulent time for China, as millions remain shut away from the rest of the world.

It also comes just weeks after Xi Jinping secured a third term, with many are now demanding an end to his rein.

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Tech giant could bid for Man Utd

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Apple could be the next owner of English football giant Manchester United.

Reports suggest the American tech giant is considering a billion-dollar bid to take over the club.

It was confirmed earlier this week that the American Glazer family’s ownership of the football club is set to end.

The family sent a note to the New York Stock Exchange saying they’re exploring “strategic alternatives” for the English football club.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is apparently keen to explore opportunities that owning Manchester United could provide, and is weighing up an official bid for the club in the region of $7 billion.

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Japanese fans help clean up Qatar stadium, in pure class act

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In a show of good faith, Japanese soccer fans stayed back to clean the stadium

Japanese soccer fans stayed back to clean up the Qatar stadium, where they even had their own plastic bags with them.

The supporters of the Samurai Blue are earning praise for cleaning up their mess after the game.

Japan had a stunning win over Germany in their opening match of the FIFA Men’s World Cup.

It’s become a common sight at some stadiums and events in Japan.

It’s a very common sight, according to one Japanese fan, who says the practice is not unusual.

FIFA has also posted an image from the Japanese change rooms after the game, with no mess in sight.

Japan beat Germany 2 – 1 in the match. They will now take on Costa Rica in Group E.

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