So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

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So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

The only reason I watch sport
0
No votes
The main reason, so I'll only watch the really big matches if I don't get to see the interviews
0
No votes
I enjoy them, but they aren't essential to my viewing
3
7%
I sometimes watch the interviews
11
24%
I'll watch the interviews if I see that they cried, or their head exploded
3
7%
I have no interest in their thoughts
28
62%
 
Total votes: 45

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So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by Gfamily » Mon May 31, 2021 12:19 am

Given that the French Open are threatening to ban a 23 year old from participating in their tournament because she is concerned at the MH issues with having to engage in post-match media interviews....

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/57301475
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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by Martin_B » Mon May 31, 2021 4:31 am

I generally don't give a tinker's fig for the thoughts of the average sportsperson, but the interviews can be entertaining.

Osaka could go for the interview technique used by a few NFL players (Marshawn Lynch springs to mind) who, when told that they had to give interviews, used to give the same answer to each question, or one word answers, or things like that.
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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by shpalman » Mon May 31, 2021 5:40 am

There are plenty of jobs for her to choose from in which media interviews are not necessary.
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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by Martin_B » Mon May 31, 2021 7:02 am

shpalman wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 5:40 am
There are plenty of jobs for her to choose from in which media interviews are not necessary.
But using her skill set?
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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by Fishnut » Mon May 31, 2021 7:11 am

Martin_B wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 4:31 am
Osaka could go for the interview technique used by a few NFL players (Marshawn Lynch springs to mind) who, when told that they had to give interviews, used to give the same answer to each question, or one word answers, or things like that.
But that misses the point of the protest. It's hearing the questions that are the problem not the need to answer them.
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.
I find it fascinating that all the reactions I've seen have been about what she can do - just not answer, find another career (why, when she's so very good at this one?), just suck it up and accept it's part of the job - and yet no-one seems to have said that maybe we should be expecting more from sports journalists. Why are they spending their time with these elite athletes asking the same repetitive questions? Why are they spending it trying to knock the confidence out of the player? Why is this not creating a discussion about, say, standards of care by the French Open to its players? Why is giving interviews at the end of every match even a requirement? They're tennis players, their job is to play tennis.

Personally I'd have said give players the option of being interviewed. It would force journalists to up their game and you'd probably get better interviews as the player at least chose to be there.
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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by basementer » Mon May 31, 2021 7:22 am

Martin_B wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 4:31 am
I generally don't give a tinker's fig for the thoughts of the average sportsperson, but the interviews can be entertaining.

Osaka could go for the interview technique used by a few NFL players (Marshawn Lynch springs to mind) who, when told that they had to give interviews, used to give the same answer to each question, or one word answers, or things like that.
Nor do I.
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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by Woodchopper » Mon May 31, 2021 7:38 am

Fishnut wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 7:11 am
Martin_B wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 4:31 am
Osaka could go for the interview technique used by a few NFL players (Marshawn Lynch springs to mind) who, when told that they had to give interviews, used to give the same answer to each question, or one word answers, or things like that.
But that misses the point of the protest. It's hearing the questions that are the problem not the need to answer them.
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.
I find it fascinating that all the reactions I've seen have been about what she can do - just not answer, find another career (why, when she's so very good at this one?), just suck it up and accept it's part of the job - and yet no-one seems to have said that maybe we should be expecting more from sports journalists. Why are they spending their time with these elite athletes asking the same repetitive questions? Why are they spending it trying to knock the confidence out of the player? Why is this not creating a discussion about, say, standards of care by the French Open to its players? Why is giving interviews at the end of every match even a requirement? They're tennis players, their job is to play tennis.

Personally I'd have said give players the option of being interviewed. It would force journalists to up their game and you'd probably get better interviews as the player at least chose to be there.
I expect that they ask the same questions because those are the ones that generate the most views or clicks.

The business model of professional sport is based around media companies and other industries paying vast sums for access to sporting events and celebrities. The people who run those businesses fear that if sports stars were able to get out of doing interviews their businesses would lose money.

The pressure exerted here is an example of how those financial interests assert themselves.

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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by shpalman » Mon May 31, 2021 7:43 am

Whereas professional sports people need the visibility because it's what their sponsors are paying for.

While most of the people doing sports who are at anything other than the elite level are completely ignored and barely scrape along.
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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by Martin_B » Mon May 31, 2021 8:06 am

Fishnut wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 7:11 am
Martin_B wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 4:31 am
Osaka could go for the interview technique used by a few NFL players (Marshawn Lynch springs to mind) who, when told that they had to give interviews, used to give the same answer to each question, or one word answers, or things like that.
But that misses the point of the protest. It's hearing the questions that are the problem not the need to answer them.
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.
I find it fascinating that all the reactions I've seen have been about what she can do - just not answer, find another career (why, when she's so very good at this one?), just suck it up and accept it's part of the job - and yet no-one seems to have said that maybe we should be expecting more from sports journalists. Why are they spending their time with these elite athletes asking the same repetitive questions? Why are they spending it trying to knock the confidence out of the player? Why is this not creating a discussion about, say, standards of care by the French Open to its players? Why is giving interviews at the end of every match even a requirement? They're tennis players, their job is to play tennis.

Personally I'd have said give players the option of being interviewed. It would force journalists to up their game and you'd probably get better interviews as the player at least chose to be there.
I'd agree that I don't know why players need to be interviewed, and have given the option of not answering the question properly (even if that does require the player to hear the question, even if not to listen to it).

However, professional sportspeople get paid, and that money comes from TV and attendance revenue, which is boosted by the media talking about the event. If the media don't get access to the players there's less incentive for them to write about the event, revenues go down and prize money is lower. If you want one, you have to put up with the other. So it's not true to say that their job is just to play tennis; if the job of a professional tennis player is also to front up to the media, and the French Open certainly believe that it is, then that's their job, too. If she wants to play as an amateur and not win any prize money, I'd have absolutely no issue with her not doing media interviews.

It could be argued that Osaka has known about the media intrusion all her career, so she shouldn't cry foul now. (Not an argument I think stands up, though.)

Has the media questioning got any worse recently? (I don't follow tennis, so I genuinely don't know if it has or not.) If it has got worse, then you could say that the French Open is failing in it's standard of care to the players; but if it hasn't significantly changed, then why is the onus suddenly on them to protect players from something which they've always done before?

Lastly, sports journalists have a pretty hard job. OK, it's not reporting from the front-line in Gaza or getting beaten by the police when reporting on the BLM protests, but they generally have to submit reports (typically ~1000 words) within minutes of the end of the match. Most of their report will be written before the interviews (for which they'll leave 100-200 words) because they are under very strenuous time restrictions, and so often don't want to ask difficult questions which might change the nature of their report. So they ask the more banal, repetitive questions to which they mostly know what the answer will be. The more in-depth feature writers have the luxury of filing copy hours or days after the event, but the standard journalists generally won't be asking Osaka difficult questions because if she did answer them they'd have to change their story and not meet their deadline; which is usually more important to the editor, and therefore the journalist, than the potential for a juicy story. So the journalists are just doing what they need to do to keep their jobs, too.

If we could design the system again, from scratch, and with an eye on the mental health of everyone involved then you'd probably end up with pre-match interviews and journalists could file match reports without any post-match interviews. And then post-match interviews could be held with the players via written questions which would allow the journalists to have plenty of time to both ask interesting and searching questions to which the players could give, or not give if they wished, answers. But good luck getting everyone to agree to that.
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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by Woodchopper » Mon May 31, 2021 8:15 am

shpalman wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 7:43 am
Whereas professional sports people need the visibility because it's what their sponsors are paying for.

While most of the people doing sports who are at anything other than the elite level are completely ignored and barely scrape along.
Certainly, the sponsors are paying for access as well. They want their logo associated with the celebrity.

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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by jaap » Mon May 31, 2021 9:43 am

A workable compromise could be that only the winner of a match has the obligation to do an interview, while the loser is allowed to opt out.

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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by Fishnut » Mon May 31, 2021 10:05 am

Martin_B wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 8:06 am
It could be argued that Osaka has known about the media intrusion all her career, so she shouldn't cry foul now. (Not an argument I think stands up, though.)

Has the media questioning got any worse recently? (I don't follow tennis, so I genuinely don't know if it has or not.) If it has got worse, then you could say that the French Open is failing in it's standard of care to the players; but if it hasn't significantly changed, then why is the onus suddenly on them to protect players from something which they've always done before?
I think both these arguments fail.

She knew about the media intrusion, but may only now feel in a secure enough position to take a stand. And she had no idea starting out if she'd reach a position where media intrusion would become a problem.

If something is bad, it doesn't have to get worse before people are allowed to speak up. The media questioning has long been intrusive and often hostile. Why shouldn't players expect better? If someone points out that your workplace is unhealthy your reaction shouldn't be "tough, that's how it's always been", your reaction should be to see if there's anything to the accusation and if there is to implement changes to try and make it safer. The reaction shows just how far we have to go before mental health is shown the same level of respect a physical health. If she'd made an accusation that the courts were potholed and posed a risk to players then I very much doubt that people would be as dismissive of her concerns.

I'd also suggest that everyone actually reads Osaka's statement about her decision:
Hey everyone-
Hope you're all doing well, I'm writing this to say I'm not going to do any press during Roland Garros. I've often felt that people have no regard for athletes mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one. 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. I've watched many clips of athletes breaking down after a loss in the press room and I know you have as well. I believe that whole situation is kicking a person while they're down and I don't understand the reasoning behind it. Me not doing press is nothing personal to the tournament and a couple journalists have interviewed me since I was young so I have a friendly relationship with most of them. However, if the organizations think that they can just keep saying, "do press or you're gonna be fined", and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are at the centerpiece of their cooperation [sic] then I just gotta laugh. Anyways, I hope the considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity. xoxo
She also linked to a video of Marshawn Lynch telling press after a Superbowl that he's only doing the interview so he won't get fined and that his sole response will be "I'm just here so I don't get fined" to every question. He still gets question after question, as if they either don't believe him or think their question will be the one that breaks him. So she's not the first to make a stand, just the first that seems to be getting proper attention.
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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by Martin_B » Mon May 31, 2021 12:40 pm

Marshawn Lynch got lots of attention - in the US; I mentioned him in the 2nd post on this thread.
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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by Gfamily » Mon May 31, 2021 12:52 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 10:05 am


If something is bad, it doesn't have to get worse before people are allowed to speak up. The media questioning has long been intrusive and often hostile. Why shouldn't players expect better? If someone points out that your workplace is unhealthy your reaction shouldn't be "tough, that's how it's always been", your reaction should be to see if there's anything to the accusation and if there is to implement changes to try and make it safer. The reaction shows just how far we have to go before mental health is shown the same level of respect a physical health. If she'd made an accusation that the courts were potholed and posed a risk to players then I very much doubt that people would be as dismissive of her concerns.
Thanks Fishnut - this is what I would expect from people here. You put it very well.
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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by lpm » Mon May 31, 2021 1:13 pm

If it's part of the absurdly well paid job, it's part of the job.

And she's doing it exceptionally well at the moment. Getting masses of publicity for the tournament and her sponsors. She's taken another step upwards to global fame and doubled her rate for her next TV commercials.
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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by dyqik » Mon May 31, 2021 1:58 pm

The press conference format with multiple journalists asking single isolated questions designed to get themselves an angle isn't essential to media access, even directly after the event.

Note how F1 does the straight after the race interviews now - questions from a single interviewer, who usually is an ex-F1 driver who now does media. This is also how the final at Wimbledon has done things for a while, IIRC.

That could be followed up with different formats for access to multiple outlets in a much less pressured way.

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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by tom p » Mon May 31, 2021 3:23 pm

dyqik wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 1:58 pm
The press conference format with multiple journalists asking single isolated questions designed to get themselves an angle isn't essential to media access, even directly after the event.

Note how F1 does the straight after the race interviews now - questions from a single interviewer, who usually is an ex-F1 driver who now does media. This is also how the final at Wimbledon has done things for a while, IIRC.

That could be followed up with different formats for access to multiple outlets in a much less pressured way.
Yeah, but there's 1 F1 race every fortnight. During a slam fortnight there are 254 singles matches (almost nobody cares about doubles).
I don't think the F1/after the wimbledon final model is really workable.

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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by tom p » Mon May 31, 2021 4:09 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 10:05 am
Martin_B wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 8:06 am
It could be argued that Osaka has known about the media intrusion all her career, so she shouldn't cry foul now. (Not an argument I think stands up, though.)

Has the media questioning got any worse recently? (I don't follow tennis, so I genuinely don't know if it has or not.) If it has got worse, then you could say that the French Open is failing in it's standard of care to the players; but if it hasn't significantly changed, then why is the onus suddenly on them to protect players from something which they've always done before?
I think both these arguments fail.

She knew about the media intrusion, but may only now feel in a secure enough position to take a stand. And she had no idea starting out if she'd reach a position where media intrusion would become a problem.

If something is bad, it doesn't have to get worse before people are allowed to speak up. The media questioning has long been intrusive and often hostile. Why shouldn't players expect better? If someone points out that your workplace is unhealthy your reaction shouldn't be "tough, that's how it's always been", your reaction should be to see if there's anything to the accusation and if there is to implement changes to try and make it safer. The reaction shows just how far we have to go before mental health is shown the same level of respect a physical health. If she'd made an accusation that the courts were potholed and posed a risk to players then I very much doubt that people would be as dismissive of her concerns.

I'd also suggest that everyone actually reads Osaka's statement about her decision:
Hey everyone-
Hope you're all doing well, I'm writing this to say I'm not going to do any press during Roland Garros. I've often felt that people have no regard for athletes mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one. 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. I've watched many clips of athletes breaking down after a loss in the press room and I know you have as well. I believe that whole situation is kicking a person while they're down and I don't understand the reasoning behind it. Me not doing press is nothing personal to the tournament and a couple journalists have interviewed me since I was young so I have a friendly relationship with most of them. However, if the organizations think that they can just keep saying, "do press or you're gonna be fined", and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are at the centerpiece of their cooperation [sic] then I just gotta laugh. Anyways, I hope the considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity. xoxo
She also linked to a video of Marshawn Lynch telling press after a Superbowl that he's only doing the interview so he won't get fined and that his sole response will be "I'm just here so I don't get fined" to every question. He still gets question after question, as if they either don't believe him or think their question will be the one that breaks him. So she's not the first to make a stand, just the first that seems to be getting proper attention.
Thanks for posting her statement fishnut. I did wonder what the specifics of her objections were.
Until reading her statement, I was very sympathetic, assuming she must have had good reasons; but after reading it I have no sympathy at all.

Repetitive questions? Get over it. Every single person in every single customer service job all over the world, probably most working for less per annum (at least as take-home) than the amount Osaka was fined yesterday have to deal with repetitive questions 8 hours a day 5 days a week 45-50 weeks a year. She should do a Roy from the IT crowd (or a Marshawn Lynch, as I believe the merkins call it). Seriously, be as boring and repetitive as the hacks & nobody will come. I've seen footage from post-game press conferences where some poor schmuck playing on court googolplex was wheeled out for a presser and nobody turned up to ask him anything. He fulfilled his obligations and was done in 30 seconds. Madonna had unbelievable levels of press intrusion for decades and couldn't go out without paparazzi detailing her every move. She dealt with it by finding a boring comfortable outfit she liked and always wearing that and only that. They just stopped after a few months because nobody was paying for yet another picture of Madge in a comfortable tracksuit & so the scumbag paparazzi weren't getting paid. Then she was able to wear what she wanted and do what she wanted for day-to-day things.

Asked questions that bring doubt into your mind? Mental toughness is part of the skillset required to be a top-level sportsperson. She's an incredibly talented tennis player who has worked her arse off to get where she has. And exactly the same is true of everyone else at her level (in fact the same is true for players far lower down the rankings than her, although the superlative before "talented" might be less strong for them) . And they are all competing against each other, and repeatedly try to sow doubt in each others' minds. Anyone with a competitive bone in their body or who has played sport against such a person knows about sowing doubt in the mind of your opponent.
She pays a coach and no doubt other members of an entourage to help her with the mental side of things as much as the technical. And if she doesn't, then she should. She could spend a fraction of her millions on a sports psychologist and get great results. Two sportspeople I greatly admire who have spoken publicly about their struggles with depression, anxiety and doubt (Ronnie O'Sullivan and Bradley Wiggins) both swear by Dr Steve Peters.

"I believe that whole situation is kicking a person while they're down" Not when you win it isn't. It's literally the opposite of being down. If that's her problem, then she should refuse to do it when she loses. That's once a tournament at most & she wouldn't get kicked out 'cos it would be her only offence each time & she can easily afford 15k dollars a pop

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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by tom p » Mon May 31, 2021 4:12 pm

Martin_B wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 7:02 am
shpalman wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 5:40 am
There are plenty of jobs for her to choose from in which media interviews are not necessary.
But using her skill set?
There are lots of private tennis clubs in the world, and all of them will have an in-house pro or two. That is the very definition of using her skill-set for a job with no media interviews. She could walk into any such club anywhere in the world and get a gig (although she might not want to hang around with a bunch of daily mail (or other national equivalent) readers).

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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by Woodchopper » Mon May 31, 2021 4:20 pm

tom p wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 4:12 pm
Martin_B wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 7:02 am
shpalman wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 5:40 am
There are plenty of jobs for her to choose from in which media interviews are not necessary.
But using her skill set?
There are lots of private tennis clubs in the world, and all of them will have an in-house pro or two. That is the very definition of using her skill-set for a job with no media interviews. She could walk into any such club anywhere in the world and get a gig (although she might not want to hang around with a bunch of daily mail (or other national equivalent) readers).
With a massive reduction in income though. I assume someone in her position will be making tens of millions per year.

For her a job as a tennis pro would be a retirement gig if she is bored hanging round the house.

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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by tom p » Mon May 31, 2021 4:47 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 4:20 pm
tom p wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 4:12 pm
Martin_B wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 7:02 am


But using her skill set?
There are lots of private tennis clubs in the world, and all of them will have an in-house pro or two. That is the very definition of using her skill-set for a job with no media interviews. She could walk into any such club anywhere in the world and get a gig (although she might not want to hang around with a bunch of daily mail (or other national equivalent) readers).
With a massive reduction in income though. I assume someone in her position will be making tens of millions per year.
Well yeah, of course.
But she must already be close , if not way beyond, to never-having-to-work-again-yet-still-able-to-live-a-luxury-lifestyle sort of money. Depending on how many endorsements she does, she may already be at not only her, but also her children and grandchildren never having to work sort of money.
But if there's one thing at your job you really don't like & there are alternatives without that one thing but still utilising all your other skills, and you won't go broke, then take it. Live a good life.
Woodchopper wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 4:20 pm
For her a job as a tennis pro would be a retirement gig if she is bored hanging round the house.
Yeah, that's basically it, but others were questioning whether there was an alternative job available with her skillset, and that job clearly exists.

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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by bolo » Mon May 31, 2021 5:04 pm

Unless I misunderstand, she is not an employee, being dictated to by her employer. She is an individual who chose to enter a particular tennis tournament, presumably under the terms and conditions of that tournament, and who now doesn't want to comply with those terms and conditions. The alternative isn't finding another career. It's skipping the French Open and playing in other tennis tournaments, of which there are lots.

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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by tom p » Mon May 31, 2021 5:35 pm

bolo wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 5:04 pm
Unless I misunderstand, she is not an employee, being dictated to by her employer. She is an individual who chose to enter a particular tennis tournament, presumably under the terms and conditions of that tournament, and who now doesn't want to comply with those terms and conditions. The alternative isn't finding another career. It's skipping the French Open and playing in other tennis tournaments, of which there are lots.
Well, yes and no. All the big tournaments have media obligations, so if she wants to earn the big bucks, then she can't find another one, unless someone so wants her to participate that they will waive the media obligations.

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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by dyqik » Mon May 31, 2021 5:43 pm

tom p wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 3:23 pm
dyqik wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 1:58 pm
The press conference format with multiple journalists asking single isolated questions designed to get themselves an angle isn't essential to media access, even directly after the event.

Note how F1 does the straight after the race interviews now - questions from a single interviewer, who usually is an ex-F1 driver who now does media. This is also how the final at Wimbledon has done things for a while, IIRC.

That could be followed up with different formats for access to multiple outlets in a much less pressured way.
Yeah, but there's 1 F1 race every fortnight. During a slam fortnight there are 254 singles matches (almost nobody cares about doubles).
I don't think the F1/after the wimbledon final model is really workable.
I don't think they have press conferences for all those matches either though (maybe a mass press conference with various players shuffling through?). I'm sure there are other formats available.

The press conference format with lots of journalists taking turns to ask single questions of someone stuck in front of them is a fairly tired format. It's kind of useful for politicians, although not so great there even.

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Re: So how important is it to see sports players being interviewed?

Post by bolo » Mon May 31, 2021 5:59 pm

tom p wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 5:35 pm
bolo wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 5:04 pm
Unless I misunderstand, she is not an employee, being dictated to by her employer. She is an individual who chose to enter a particular tennis tournament, presumably under the terms and conditions of that tournament, and who now doesn't want to comply with those terms and conditions. The alternative isn't finding another career. It's skipping the French Open and playing in other tennis tournaments, of which there are lots.
Well, yes and no. All the big tournaments have media obligations, so if she wants to earn the big bucks, then she can't find another one, unless someone so wants her to participate that they will waive the media obligations.
Fair enough, though so far, at least, her statement as posted by Fishnut only says "I'm not going to do any press during Roland Garros".

Also, if they fine her but don't ban her, she can just chalk up $15k per tournament as another cost of doing business. According to Wikipedia, she earned $37 million last year, so $15k is a drop in the bucket.

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