1. Combine mental health with unaccountable female superstar athletes and you get.…another “How dare you expect me to answer questions like any other pro athlete, you sexists racist!” moment from Naomi Osaka. Ahead of the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio, tennis’s reigning queen finally agreed to sit down for questions from the press on a Zoom call. You will recall that at the French Open in May, she said she would decline to do pretournament or post-match news conferences, even though they are required of all players. When Osaka was fined $15,000 for skipping her press commitments after her first-round victory, she withdrew before her second-round match in Paris, for the first time playing the mental health card., later used so effectively by Simone Biles at the Olympics. At the session in Mason, Paul Daugherty, a sports columnist for The Cincinnati Enquirer, asked ,“You are not crazy about dealing with us, especially in this format. Yet you have a lot of outside interests that are served by having a media platform. I guess my question is, How do you balance the two?” Osaka, after an attempt at an answer that wasn’t an answer, ran out of the room in tears. Her agent, Stuart Duguid, said via text message, “The bully at The Cincinnati Enquirer is the epitome of why player/media relations are so fraught right now. Everyone on that Zoom will agree that his tone was all wrong, and his sole purpose was to intimidate.”
Imagine that response from a male athlete to a legitimate if tough question. Imagine an agent for such a male athlete calling the questioner a “bully.” Female athletes cannot protest that they must be treated equally with male jocks and still reserve the right to revert to delicate flowers when it serves their purposes.
2. And speaking of imaginary bullying...Former U.S. women’s national soccer team goalkeeper Hope Solo declared on a podcast interview that she had observed team leader Megan Rapinoe “almost bullying” her teammates into kneeling while the national anthem was played prior to games, saying
“I’ve seen Megan Rapinoe almost bully players into kneeling because she really wants to stand up for something in her particular way. But it’s our right as Americans to do it whatever way we’re comfortable with and I think that’s really hard being on the main stage right now with so many political issues for athletes. There’s a lot of pressure and ultimately at the end of the day our number one focus should and has always been to win first.”
This was widely quoted yesterday, especially on conservative blogs, but Solo’s credibility here is dubious. On Aug. 24, 2016, after the United States had fallen to Sweden in the quarterfinals at the Rio Olympics and goalkeeper Hope Solo had responded to that result by publicly describing the winning team as “a bunch of cowards,”she was suspended for six months by U.S. Soccer and her contract with the women’s national team was terminated.
Three days later, the Seattle Reign soccer team announced Solo was taking personal leave. She never played another game for the Reign or the US Women’s National Team, both of which included Rapinoe. So when Rapinoe first “took a knee” on the field on September 4 during the national anthem in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick’s obnoxious protest, Solo wasn’t around. She also wasn’t around when Rapinoe repeated that protest about two weeks later, prior to a USWNT exhibition game on September 15. In fact, Rapinoe and Solo were never teammates again after Kaepernick began his protests.
It is easy to imagine Rapinoe bullying team mates, but Solo has an Ethics Alarm rap sheet as long as my arm. She has no credibility. Rapinoe’s many critics, whom she certainly deserves, wanted Solo’s accusation to be true.
3. Another segue! And speaking of people with no credibility...Acclaimed theater executive Christopher Massimine‘s job as the managing director of the prestigious Pioneer Theater Company in Salt Lake City was thrown into crisis after a local television affiliate found that he had embellished his résumé. Well, embellished is putting it lightly. Massimine did not have a master’s degree from NYU,, though his résumé said he did. His claims to have helped develop popular video games and some major advertising campaigns couldn’t be verified. He claimed he was born in Italy—he was born in New Jersey. He said he once a full-time employee of the Dramatists Guild. Well, he was an unpaid interne for a few months. He told The Daily Beast in an interview that he had appeared on Broadway as a child in shows like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Les Misérables.” There are no records of him performing in either show, according to the Broadway League’s database.
Two years ago, his theater put out a news release stating he had been named “Humanitarian of the Year” by the National Performing Arts Action Association and would be honored at a reception in Washington. Massimine traveled to D.C. in January 2020, purportedly to pick up the award, and billed nearly $800 for his expenses. He returned with a photo supposedly taken at the White House, showing him wearing a medal awarded by the National Performing Arts Action Association.
There is no National Performing Arts Action Association.
This week, Massime announced that he was resigning and that he had struggled with mental illness for years.
4. And still speaking of those with no credibility… The United States Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield reassured Wolf Blitzer on CNN by announcing that the UN Security Council issued a “very strongly worded press statement” that the Taliban must respect human rights. “We have expressed in no uncertain terms, here in the United Nations, through a very strongly worded press statement from the Security Council that we expect the Taliban to respect human rights, including the rights of women and girls,” she said. Oh! So there’s nothing to worry about,then!
Wait…what does this remind me of? Oh, right..this:
5. OK, I’m tired of segues now…I want to see a debate on this topic between James Bond and Mookie Betts. The current but soon to be ex-James Bond, Daniel Craig, told the UK’s Candis Magazine that he finds the concept of inheritance “distasteful,” and that he doesn’t plan on leaving any money to his three children. Craig has a reported net worth of $160 million.
Meanwhile, the justification given for every major league baseball player who leaves “the great fans and city” where he purports to love for a few more millions of guaranteed income is that he is “doing it for his kids.”
Mookie Betts, Dodgers rightfielder, has earned $82.5 million so far, but is guaranteed another $342 million under his current contract