Introvert Naomi Osaka Can’t Talk To The Media, But She’s On The SI Swimsuit Cover

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What a horrible year it’s been for 23-year-old Naomi Osaka, who quit at the French Open after she refused to do post-match interviews and then pulled out of Wimbledon to deal with anxiety and depression. You’d think that Naomi Osaka would’ve gone into isolation to get her head straight. Nope. She’s on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, which hit newsstands around the world Monday morning.

“Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that sees me at the tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety,” Osaka’s team wrote in a May Instagram statement.

Uh, so about that whole introverted so I can’t talk to the media thing…what about the Netflix documentary, the fashion deals, the Barbie she’s now promoting, the Vogue cover, the interviews created by her marketing team, and now this swimsuit issue? Osaka famously said that athletes deserve “the right to take a mental break from media scrutiny on a rare occasion without being subject to strict sanctions.”

Geez, that seems like an awful lot for an introvert to handle all in one year.

Woke Illustrated has three covers out today, including the first rapper to ever be on the cover, Megan Thee Stallion, and transgender model Leyna Bloom. It doesn’t get much more 2021 than that from SI. “There’s no question that Naomi is one of the best athletes in the world, and a cover spot felt obvious. She’s spent her formative years racking up titles and is headed to the Olympics,” said Swimsuit editor-in-chief M.J. Day. “But we celebrate Naomi for her passion, strength and power geared towards consistently breaking barriers when it comes to equality, social justice, and mental health.”

In other words, Osaka checked all the boxes for Sports Illustrated to go to BLM and plead with that communist-supporting group to approve of what SI’s doing to support the cause. Let’s see how BLM plays this. I have a hunch BLM will tell SI it isn’t woke enough. Just a hunch though.

Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.


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  1. Yeah when I saw the 3 covers I thought – wow, how far SI has fallen. When I was younger the SI Swimsuit issue was a boy’s dream. I would love to see a sales comparison of the 2021 issue with previous years. Just like I’m waiting for Victoria’s Secret to go bankrupt now that they’ve gone completely woke and have Megan Rapinoe as an adviser!

  2. Somewhere Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley, Kathy Ireland and Brooklyn Decker (among others) are shedding a tear for those halcyon days of yore. ….. Apparently Jamele Hill and Marcia Taylor were not available.

  3. Sports Illustrated is dead. Its now a PR firm, using its reach to promote rather than report. Bobby, I wish you would give a breakdown of how PR firms who represent these athletes and the “media” are basically one in the same now.

    • I remember Sports Illustrated being in my house growing up… I had my parents frame the issues of Hank Aaron hitting his 715th Home Run and the “Miracle on Ice” Issue (sold BOTH on Ebay years ago for BIG $$$, so don’t ask if I still have them)… but even then, it seemed like they were using sports to sell cigarettes and whiskey…

      For “sports” they were never really timely enough to have any credibility, but I bet they sold ALOT of Beer…. I had little use for them then.. I have NO use for them now.

  4. I don’t care about anything SI does or says.

    I initially supported her viewpoint related to media attention. She’s actually used that initial occurance to expand her media attention.

    She’s no different than any other tik tok freak.

  5. Does Sports Illustrated still publish a weekly magazine … or just the SU Swimsuit issue once/year?

    Shows how much I (don’t) miss it. I quit SI when Rick Reilly went Woke 8-10 years ago … before there was “woke”.

  6. Yeah she’s to troubled by her mental illness to do interviews after a match but she can film a Netflix special and do a photo shoot for SI. Something tells me she’s full of shit. Just another pampered celebrity/athlete.

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