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Plot twist. Sporting superstars are only human | TICKER VIEWS



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.


Major League Baseball has told a team to stop testing for Coronavirus



A Boston Redsox outfielder said that MLB told his team struggling with COVID-19 to treat symptoms, instead of testing

The Boston Redsox have nine players who have tested positive with coronavirus.

When questioned about the situation on WEEI’s Merloni & Fauria show, Refroe said the league had instructed the team to stop testing for the virus.

“MLB basically told us to stop the testing and just treat the symptoms,” Renfroe said.

“We’re like ‘No. We’re gonna figure out what’s going on and try to keep this thing under control.'”

When the bewildered host asked Renfroe to confirm if Major League Baseball had asked the team to stop testing, he confirmed “yes”.

Major League Baseball quickly released a statement to Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe saying Renfroe’s claim was incorrect.

“He (Renfroe) is completely wrong and inaccurate.” the statement said.

The Red Sox are currently missing shortstop Xander Bogart, starters Nick Pivetta and Martin Perez, outfielder Jarren Duran, and closer Matt Barnes because of the outbreak.

The Redsox have released a statement saying they have followed league COVID restrictions, and will continue to test. The team is currently under the 85% vaccinated threshold to ease restrictions imposed by the league.

-By Parker McKenzie

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North Korea banned from the next Olympics



The ‘Hermit Kingdom’ has been banned from the 2022 Winter Olympics because it skipped the Tokyo games this year

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) announced the suspension of the North Korean Olympic Committee until the end of 2022. The Beijing Winter Olympics will run from the 4th-20th of February, 2022.

IOC president Thomas Bach announced the suspension on Wednesday.

“They were in violation of the Olympic Charter, and did not fulfil their obligation as stated in the Olympic Charter to participate in the games of the Olympiad by sending athletes.” Bach said.

North Korea announced in April that it would skip the games over coronavirus concerns.

Bach said that any athlete who qualifies for the games may be able to compete under a neutral flag, in the same way Russian athletes have competed since the countries doping ban.

“Athletes should not suffer from wrong decisions of their agencies or their officials,” Bach said.

“So there we have kept this door open.”

The International Olympic Committee said that North Korea will forfeit an undisclosed amount of money in financial support.

The decision could influence countries considering boycotting the China based Olympics over concerns of human rights.

When asked about this in response to the IOC helping Afhgan athletes receive visas, Bach downplayed the IOC’s ability to influence the actions of the Chinese government.

“There are limitations in our influence,” the IOC president said.

“It’s to take care of humanitarian issues within the Olympic community. This is what we are doing.”

North Korea had 20 athletes compete at the 2018 winter Olympics in South Korea, winning no medals. They previously sent no competitors to the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

-By Parker McKenzie

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Good-bye Hamilton? Verstappen takes lead after F1 lead



Max Verstappen has taken the lead in the Formula One driver’s championship after a victory in front of his home fans at the Dutch Grand Prix

The Dutchman converted his pole position to a second consecutive win over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

It comes as the Formula 1 season returned to Circuit Zandvoort for the first time since 1985.

Valtteri Bottas finished in third, as an army of fans painted in orange cheered on their home hero.

Verstappen is now three points ahead of Hamilton for the championship, as drivers prepare for next weekend’s race at Monza in Italy.

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