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

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.

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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.