Nike, Corporate Sponsors Back Osaka over Media Boycott

Naomi Osaka
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Naomi Osaka, the world’s number two player tennis player and highest-paid female athlete, is being backed by Nike and other corporate sponsors for her decision to withdraw from French Open over a media boycott.

Nike said, “Our thoughts are with Naomi. We support her and recognize her courage in sharing her own mental health experience.” Nike signed a sponsorship deal with Osaka in 2019, who replaced, Adidas who had sponsored her for the four years prior.

Mastercard released a similar statement as well, saying, “Naomi Osaka’s decision reminds us all how important it is to prioritize personal health and well-being. We support her and admire her courage to address important issues, both on and off the court.”

Nissin Foods, a Japanese sponsor who is known for its instant noodles, said, “We pray for Ms. Naomi Osaka’s earliest recovery, and wish her continued success.”

Nissan Motor Co, the Japanese automaker, said they would be standing with their brand ambassador. “We stand by her decision and wish her well,” Nissan said.

Monday, the tennis star announced on Twitter that she would be withdrawing from the French Open after Osaka following days of controversy for not participating in the mandatory media interviews at Roland-Garros. Osaka said she “never wanted to be a distraction” and cited depression along with social anxiety.

The tennis star has been dealing with depression and social anxiety. She explained further in her statement:

The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that. Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that has seen me at the tournaments will notice that I am often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety.

In a group statement released by the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon, and the US Open, the Four Grand Slam cites said that Osaka chose not to “honour her contractual media obligations. The Roland-Garros referee has therefore issued her a $15,000 fine, in keeping with article III H. of the Code of Conduct.”

Sunday, it was announced, Osaka would be fined $15,000 for not participating in the mandatory media interviews at Roland-Garros 2021. and could face $20,000 fines if she continued to no participate in the mandatory media interviews.

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