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Naomi Osaka speaks out about mental health in essay: ‘Enact measures to protect athletes, especially the fragile ones’

Naomi Osaka explained her stance against attending post-match media conferences at the French Open in an essay in Time magazine.Pete Kiehart/NYT

Naomi Osaka says former first lady Michelle Obama and sports stars Novak Djokovic, Michael Phelps and Stephen Curry were among those who reached out to offer support after she withdrew from the French Open to take a mental health break. In an essay in Time magazine’s Olympic preview issue, on sale Friday, Osaka — a four-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1-ranked player — wrote that she hopes “we can enact measures to protect athletes, especially the fragile ones,” and suggests they be allowed to sometimes skip media obligations without punishment. According to the Washington Post, Osaka blamed the dynamics of post-match news conferences in explaining her reason for dropping out of the French Open, saying, “We’re often sat there and asked questions that we’ve been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.” After her first-round victory in Paris, Osaka was fined $15,000 for skipping her mandatory news conference and threatened by the four Grand Slam tournaments with the possibility of disqualification or suspension if she continued to avoid the media. Osaka then pulled out of that tournament. She hasn’t played since Paris, also sitting out Wimbledon. She will return to competition at the Tokyo Olympics, which open July 23, and where she will represent her native Japan … Rafael Nadal will return to competition by making his debut at the hard-court Citi Open tournament in Washington July 31 to Aug. The tournament serves as a US Open tuneup … Nick Kyrgios pulled out of Australia’s tennis team for the Olympics, citing on social media a need to get healthy and the ban on fans at Tokyo Olympics venues as reasons.


Granberg lifts Sea Dogs

Devlin Granberg finished a single shy of the cycle at Hadlock Field in the 8-3 victory for the host Portland Sea Dogs over the Hartford Yard Goats. Portland improves to 31-23 while the Yard Goats fall to 18-36 … The game between the Worcester Red Sox and Lehigh Valley IronPigs was postponed because of rain in Allentown, Pa. A makeup date is to be determined.



French police stop Harden

James Harden, in Paris for Fashion Week, was stopped by police but not arrested and never taken into custody, the city prosecutor’s office said. French media reports said that the Brooklyn Nets star, who’s been seen around Paris with Kanye West and Lil Baby, was on the street when a car was stopped after police smelled cannabis, ESPN reported. Harden was apparently nearby and tried to intervene and was stopped, but was let go. Video shared on social media showed Harden being briefly frisked on one of the French capital’s most elite avenues. Lil Baby, an American rapper whose real name is Dominique Jones, was detained for allegedly transporting drugs, according to the city prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor’s office said one other person was also detained, without releasing the identity. An investigation is underway. According to reports, police said they found 20 grams of cannabis, a substance that is illegal in France, in the car … The Orlando Magic are closing in on Dallas Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley, who has emerged as the strong front-runner to become the franchise’s next head coach, sources told ESPN.



Brown joins Hardaway’s staff

Memphis coach Penny Hardaway added Hall of Famer Larry Brown to the Tigers’ staff as an assistant, reuniting the former New York Knicks player and coach. Brown, 80, is the only coach to win championships in both the NCAA (with Kansas in 1988) and the NBA (Detroit Pistons, 2004) over a 42-year career that also included stops in the ABA. He received coach of the year awards in each league … Dawson Garcia, who led Marquette in scoring and rebounding as a freshman last season, indicated on social media he is transferring to North Carolina. Garcia released an Instagram post that showed him in a North Carolina uniform. He included the message, “Chapel Hill! Let’s Rock! #committed.” The 6-foot-11 forward averaged 13 points and 6.6 rebounds for Marquette last season. He entered his name in the NBA draft before opting to return to school, but he also had entered the transfer portal … A group of athletes and student managers at the University of Hartford are suing in attempt to block the school from downgrading its athletic programs from Division 1 to Division 3. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in US District Court, argues the school is breaking promises made to the athletes when they were recruited to Hartford, including that “they would be able to participate in a Division I athletic program for up to five years.” The university’s Board of Regents voted in May to make the transition to Division 3 after a consultant’s report concluded the move could save the school more than $9 million a year.



Politt wins 12th Tour de France stage

German rider Nils Politt won the 12th stage of the Tour de France in Nimes but there was no significant change in the overall standings. Tadej Pogacar kept his 5:18 lead over second-placed Rigoberto Uran, with Jonas Vingegaard in third, 5:33 off the pace … Three-time world champion Marianne Vos won her second stage in the Giro d’Italia Donne in Puegnago, Italy, attacking along with Elisa Longo Borghini on the final lap of an 11-lap circuit and staying away to the finish line. Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen finished third with the same time as the leaders to keep her nearly 3-minute buffer in the overall race lead.



English soccer association charged

UEFA charged the English Football Association with three offenses from its European Championship semifinal win over Denmark. The disciplinary cases were opened over the use of a laser pointer by fans at Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel as he awaited a penalty kick by Harry Kane, fireworks being set off and for disturbing the Danish national anthem. England won the Euro 2020 match 2-1 in extra time at Wembley Stadium … A person with knowledge of the situation says heavyweight champion Tyson Fury tested positive for COVID-19, and his third bout with Deontay Wilder will be postponed likely until the fall. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the promoters of the lucrative heavyweight trilogy are still finalizing the new date for the most anticipated heavyweight bout of the summer … Vladimir Tarasenko asked the St. Louis Blues for a trade, a person with knowledge of the situation told the AP. The Blues declined comment when asked about Tarasenko’s trade request, which was first reported by The Athletic. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the request was not made public. Tarasenko is a five-time 30-goal scorer, but injuries have limited him to just seven in 34 games the past two seasons. He has undergone three shoulder surgeries in three years, most recently a second operation on his left shoulder last fall. The 29-year-old Russian winger who helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup in 2019 has two years left on his contract at a salary-cap hit of $7.5 million … The NFL and Twitter extended their partnership to include expanded engagement formats and exclusive content on Twitter Spaces. The deal means Twitter will also continue to be home for the top highlights soon after they occur in games. The NFL is the first sports league to partner with the social media platform to offer sponsored Twitter Spaces.