The humanity of Naomi Osaka, Michael Beasley and other black athletes against the inhumanity of their "fans"

So, to put it in another, more accurate way, I had, during my fourteenth year, for the first time in my life, fear — fear of the evil w...



So, to put it in another, more accurate way, I had, during my fourteenth year, for the first time in my life, fear — fear of the evil within me and fear of the evil without. —James Baldwin

Where does a giant go when he doesn’t want to be seen?

For six-foot-ten former NBA player Michael Beasley, he’s staying in his house. With his thoughts. Those who haunt him. Small thoughts that he should outgrow combine with bigger ones that he can’t shake. Inside of him, they create a dormant volcano, because that’s what trauma does to many of us who have survived the neighborhood and all the temptations that come with it; we are still walking around with the bubbling hot lava of trauma just waiting to burst.

“The only people who haven’t robbed me are my children,” he said in an interview on “The Pivotal Podcast,” hosted by Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder and Fred Taylor – all former NFL players.

Nobody told him how to deal with the volcano inside him. No one showed him that he could be contained and, eventually, with therapy, extinguished.

And Beasley is hot. Not anger, but sadness. Same thing, really.

Beasley heard it all what fans and critics had to say about him. It all landed in space that even Beasley doesn’t know. So he hides. Maybe from us, maybe for we. But either way, he isolates himself so he won’t be the butt of jokes that aren’t funny or relive all the ways people think he ruined his life. I’m not listing all the run-ins Beasley has had with authority figures, you can read that here, but I will ask this: What is a reasonable expectation of maturity when no one has taught you how to be mature?

So Beasley, 31, is staying home. Like a punished child. But the other men in the room, all black, recognize the isolation. They fear that these could be the warning signs of something else.

“You have children, I have children. Come to my house,” Crowder said on the podcast. “We can get bouncy houses for the kids, and we can have a few beers and hang out.”

Crowder paused, then added, “It’s not the normal life of a successful man; sit in the house like that.

But that’s what happens to black athletes in an environment where fans feel compelled and spectators are cruel. They say they have “thicker skin”, that the millions they earn should be the balm on their wounds, reducing black athletes to silent giants, deprived of their humanity, who must prove their tenacity by their ability to withstand the abuse. And that’s what it’s all about: abuse. This is why the efforts of those who love tennis Naomi Osaka and superstar gymnast Simone Biles raise awareness of athlete mental health are so important. That’s why the hosts of “Pivot” offered to be a friend to Beasley and encouraged him to get out of the house. That’s why we all need to take mental health in the workplace seriously.

According to Mental Health America, Black people make up 13.4% of the United States. Of these, approximately 16% reported having a mental illness. And while that number may seem small, it’s over 7 million people, more than the combined population of Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia.

The most important study, however, maybe the one who found than 63% of ”Black people believe that a mental health problem is a sign of personal weakness. As a result, people may be ashamed of having a mental illness and fear discrimination because of their condition.

The stigma surrounding therapy and the widespread belief among many black people that churches or other places of worship are the only acceptable forms of mental health treatment, coupled with widely held assumptions about black athletes, could have led at those informal moments in sports where rowdy fan and sportsman collide.

Take the Mischief in the palace, the infamous brawl between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers and unruly fans on Nov. 19, 2004 – and before you make that face, remember we learned Pistons center Ben Wallace’s mother had just died, and Ron of the Artest Pacers, who would later change his name to Metta World Peace, opened up about his mental health struggles. And don’t forget that the brawl between players and fans happened after a drink was thrown at Artest as he lay on the scorer’s table. What ensued was a total fracas. It was a black eye on the sport, but what was more telling after the fact was that the players thought they were going to die that night due to a lack of police presence and a uncontrollable crowd of Detroit, to be suspended. and called “thugs”.

No one mentions Pacers center Jermaine O’Neal his suspension was lifted because he sued the NBA and a federal judge ruled he had a right to protect himself. Truth be told, Artest and Wallace probably shouldn’t have been on the court that night. Wallace was emotionally raw from the loss of his mother and Artest had struggled with his mental health for years and was simply called a hothead.

It’s the fight for sanity for black athletes who survived the ghetto when money just wasn’t enough. It’s the fight of black athletes who can be both revered and despised in a country that doesn’t love them back. It will always be the struggle for black athletes to find a Rubik’s cube-like contraption inside themselves to make sense of all the ways they will be treated and how they should look and behave.

Imagine all the WTF levels that have been going through Serena and Venus Williams’ minds lately as they listen to director Jane Campion drag them through the Critics’ Choice Awards.

“Serena and Venus, you are marvels. However, you don’t play guys like I have to. campio said.

Just look at the face of Venus – it says it all.

It’s this level of internalized contortionism that becomes exhausting for most black athletes.

In 2021, Naomi Osaka was one of the best tennis players in the world when she quit the game to take care of her sanity. She literally left the French Open and took care of herself. At the time, everyone seemed united. That was until Saturday when a heckler shouted, “Naomi, you suck!” during a moment of silence during her match against Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova. A visibly shaken Osaka then lost the game 6-0, 6-4. After the match, Osaka addressed the crowd.

“Hi,” Osaka said. “I just wanted to say thank you. I feel like I’ve cried enough in front of the camera. To be honest, I’ve been heckled before and it didn’t really bother me. But heckled here. …I watched a video of Serena and Venus getting heckled here and if you’ve never watched it, you should watch it.

She continued, “I don’t know why, but it just popped into my head and I replayed a lot. I’m trying not to cry but I just wanted to say thank you and congratulations [Veronika]. Thank you.”

Osaka wasn’t trying to eclipse Kudermetova’s victory; she was telling the heckler that if you wanted to hurt me, you did. And that’s the part that hurts the most. Osaka is performing under intense scrutiny during a vulnerable time and in a professional sport where the biblical ethos is to “suck it up”. I couldn’t imagine the difficulty Osaka faces as a black woman in professional tennis, in a country that doesn’t care about black women.

But I know it’s time for viewers to watch. It’s also time for athletes who believe heckling is part of the game to work to change it. It’s time for paying attendees to realize that just because athletes perform in front of you doesn’t mean they belong to you. And you might want to consider whatever they may be going through, I mean just because they’re giants doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings too.



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Newsrust - US Top News: The humanity of Naomi Osaka, Michael Beasley and other black athletes against the inhumanity of their "fans"
The humanity of Naomi Osaka, Michael Beasley and other black athletes against the inhumanity of their "fans"
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