Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles are two Black female athletes who have been recently vocal about the struggles they have faced regarding hostility from sports fans and their mental health. Now, the women have found open support from NFL G.O.A.T. Tom Brady, who spoke with USA TODAY last month about difficulties that young sports stars face when in the public eye and trying to keep their minds right.
“It’s interesting,” the 7x Super Bowl champ told the publication. “I think there are so many young people in sports. Obviously, Naomi’s really young. Simone’s really young. I’m 44. When I was 24, I certainly didn’t have all the answers to all the different pressures and the adversities that you face. I don’t know if we have expectations for people that we should have all the answers, have all things figured out at young ages.”
Naomi Osaka suffered a surprising third-round exit from the 2021 U.S. Open this weekend at the hands of 18-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez. Osaka had various moments of frustration during her loss, even throwing her racket and eliciting boos from the crowd for her display. After the loss, Osaka shared that she would step away from the game entirely to focus on her next moves.
“This is very hard to articulate,” Osaka said while fighting back tears during her postgame conference. “Basically, I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. Sorry.”
U.S. gymnast Simone Biles faced her own share of heat when she sat out some events during this summer’s Olympic Games. While some critics claimed she abandoned her team in a moment of selfishness, she eventually revealed that her aunt passed away during the Games, so she needed some time to herself. “People have to realize that, at the end of the day, we’re humans; we’re not just entertainment,” she told reporters in Tokyo. “There are things going on behind the scenes that people have no idea about.”
As his career nears its end, Brady has become more open about topics on which he may have usually kept mum. In June, he appeared on HBO’s The Shop and shared about how being “an employee [of the NFL]” has kept him from being as free to speak as he likes. He did talk on his feelings about Osaka at that time as well, who had voluntarily removed herself from the French Open for the sake of her mental health.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to Osaka recently clapping back at Megyn Kelly: