US Open 2021: TV schedule today, how to watch and more

See your streaming options for watching the toughest test in golf, no cable required.

Here’s what you need to know to watch the golf this week.

Phil Mickelson will look to make it two straight Majors at the US Open starting Thursday at Torrey Pines.

Golf Channel has the early round coverage on Thursday and Friday before giving way to NBC for weekend coverage for the final two rounds.

Here’s the TV schedule (all times ET):

For $5 a month, you can watch Golf Channel’s coverage on Peacock. In addition, Peacock will have exclusive live coverage at the start of the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday from 9:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET. Peacock will also show live coverage all four days of the tournament of feature groups and featured holes (11, 12 and 13).

If you’re streaming on a PC, phone or tablet you can watch on NBCSports.com or the NBC Sports app, but you will need to prove you have a pay TV subscription.

If you don’t have a cable or satellite TV subscription, you can watch the tournament with a live TV streaming service. All five major services offer NBC and Golf Channel. The catch is that not every service carries every local network, so check each one using the links below to make sure it carries NBC in your area.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue plan includes NBC. You can add Golf Channel as part of the Sports Extra package for an additional $11 per month. You can see which local channels you get here.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC and Golf Channel. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC and Golf Channel. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

FuboTV’s Standard plan costs $65 a month and includes NBC and Golf Channel. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

AT&T TV’s basic $70-a-month package includes NBC, but you’ll need to spring for the $95-a-month plan to get the Golf Channel. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV review.

Peacock offers three tiers: a limited free plan and two Premium plans. The ad-supported Premium plan costs $5 a month, and the ad-free Premium plan costs $10 a month. You need one of the Premium plans to watch the US Open. Peacock will show Golf Channel’s coverage of the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday along with exclusive live coverage at the start of rounds 1 and 2 from 9:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET. You can watch feature groups and featured holes (11, 12 and 13) all four days of the tournament.

Read our Peacock review.

All of the live TV streaming services above except ESPN Plus offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our massive streaming services guide.

If you live in an area with good reception, you can watch the afternoon action on Saturday and Sunday on NBC for free on over-the-air broadcast channels just by attaching an affordable (under $30) indoor antenna to nearly any TV.

White House confirms diplomatic boycott of 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing

The move is in response to China’s human rights abuses. American athletes will still be allowed to compete in the Games.

The Biden administration says the diplomatic boycott is a response to China’s “genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.” Above, a Games-themed sculpture is featured at Beijing Winter Olympic Park.

Psaki said the US doesn’t intend to stage a full boycott, which would prevent American athletes from attending. The last time the US staged a full boycott was during the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow during the Cold War.

On Jan. 19, the US State Department under the Trump administration declared that the Chinese government is committing genocide against Uighur people and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region. This is just the latest action the US has taken against the Chinese government, intensifying an already strained relationship due to years of tensions over human rights abuses and trade.

Monday’s announcement comes two months before the Games are set to begin. “We feel this sends a clear message,” Psaki said during the press briefing.

In response to the boycott, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Monday said, “I want to stress that the Winter Olympic Games is not a stage for political posturing and manipulation. This wishful thinking and pure grandstanding is aimed at political manipulation. It is a grave travesty of the spirit of the Olympic Charter, a blatant political provocation and a serious affront to the 1.4 billion Chinese people.”

How 5G played a role in the Phoenix Suns’ historic NBA title run

The wireless technology gave the team an edge when it came to crunching the data on its players to find ways for them to improve.

Chris Paul and Devin Booker during the 2021 NBA playoffs.

The new tools helped general manager James Jones and the rest of the coaching staff better evaluate player performance and adapt in real time. Ryan Resh, the Suns’ head of data analytics, credits 5G with “pushing the NBA’s boundaries” regarding how the coaches train and teach their athletes.

The Suns’ use of 5G is an example of one of the many different applications of the wireless technology beyond higher speeds on your phone. The technology, rolling out across the globe, is expected to transform many industries, including sports. Professional and college teams are installing 5G in stadiums and arenas to improve the on-site experience, and apps are emerging that let fans view replays from different angles or feel like they’re a part of the action. Teams are exploring ways to use 5G to improve the performance of the athletes themselves by quickly collecting huge amounts of data — something that isn’t possible with 4G or Wi-Fi.

“5G is allowing us to … take those movements and those analyses and make them so real-time that the process just becomes iterative and seamlessly flows into the working procedure of our coaches and our players,” Resh said in an interview.

While sports teams have been using analytics to improve player performance nearly as long as sports have existed, 5G is emerging as a new way to make that analysis even more effective. The key is the technology’s high speed and low latency. Cameras and sensors can collect data and provide insight in real time, letting coaches instruct their players on the fly or detect injuries before they become bigger problems. For the Suns, the intersection between 5G and athletics made its mark this NBA season.

“The 5G lab keeps the Suns on the cutting edge,” Jones said in a statement. “That cohesion provides our staff with unparalleled opportunities to efficiently unlock each athlete’s fullest potential.”

The need for real-time data is becoming more and more important in sports. Prior to the rollout of 5G and installation of sensors and cameras in arenas, players were used to waiting until the next day to review film highlighting in-game mistakes. While players and coaches still review film after games, the 5G lab offers data within milliseconds — something that once took several minutes to calculate.

“Coaching has been around for thousands of years, where coaches go out there and with their gut, they watch things,” Brian Mecum, vice president of device technology for Verizon, said in an interview. “Well, how about if we trust data, and how about if we flip it and trust what science is telling us by what it can measure?”

While Verizon is building 5G in more than 60 stadiums and arenas, its partnership with the Phoenix Suns is different. No other team working with Verizon uses 5G to help with real-time analytics.

5G helps the Suns coaching staff quickly gather and crunch data from three different tools. With a technology called Noah, the players are able to get real-time feedback, live and automated in-game data, and in-depth post-practice and game analytics. For instance, the practice center’s hoop is equipped with sensors that allow Noah to track the arch consistency, the depth and the left and right trajectory of the ball. Coaches will be able to compare subpar performance against a player’s peak, letting them know instantly what places or situations on a court have the best odds for sinking a shot.

“It gets down to centimeter accuracy, and it also has the ability to look at things in three dimensions [along] the X, the Y and the Z axis,” Verizon’s Mecum said. A player may not be able to tell in real time why their shots aren’t going in without the in-depth arc and angle analysis Noah provides.

“This team took and learned that sometimes players were spending too much time shooting, for example, they were taking too many shots and that was affecting the effectiveness of their shots,” Mecum said.

Adding Noah to the Sun’s practice facility has shown real results for the team. One younger player had a tough time consistently sinking his shots. With Noah and the tracking sensors installed in the rafters above the hoop, the coaching staff was able to show the player where his jump shots typically landed and where his performance was the weakest.

“That was enlightening to him because it allowed him to accept that his mechanics may not be as consistent as he wants them to be, which is not something that you really feel, in real time,” Resh said. “His work did eventually pay off in the playoffs, and he was our best three-point shooter.”

Another analytics source used by the Suns is called ShotTracker. Players and coaches are able to use a sensor-based system that generates shooting analytics stats to teams — and fans — thanks to a sensor placed on the ball. Players must also wear a small tracking device, and there are sensors in the rafters above the rim to pinpoint the location of the shot. Specifically, more than 100 sensors communicate to the coaches in real time what players are doing (or not). This allows both players and coaches to go back and review how many shots were taken and exactly where they were shot.

The final piece of the Suns’ technology expansion relates to lateral movement off the court. With the help of Simi’s motion capture cameras, coaches are able to track players’ abilities both before and after injuries. A returning player may feel they are back to normal, but coaches are able to see in real time if the player is healed or not by comparing the post-injury performance to the player’s baseline. The Suns are using Simi in the weight room to track static movements — but have hopes to one day use Simi to predict how players move on the court.

In the practice facilities, the Suns’ are also using Bertec’s 3D force plates in combination with Simi’s cameras. The Bertec plates, which players stand on, are able to track a player’s gait, jump and balance while Simi captures the movement in real time. Simi shows the coaches, the movement, while the Bertec plates provide data about pressure and other characteristics.

“While Wi-Fi can accomplish that, what 5G does is it makes it so fast [and] the latency is so low, that as soon as a player is done jumping, [the data is] there in front of them,” Resh said

Latency is the response or lag time between sending a signal and receiving one back, and 5G’s shorter latency is how it makes a difference in sports analytics.

“You want to reduce the delay as much as you can to give [people] real-time experiences,” said Technalysis Research analyst Bob O’Donnell. “Every little bit helps.”

3G networks had latencies in the hundreds of milliseconds, which is an appreciable fraction of a second. 4G networks, which enabled smartphones and all of the apps we use today, started with latencies of about 100 milliseconds and now are down to a range of about 30 milliseconds to 70 milliseconds. 5G aims to get to 1 millisecond, but it’s currently at about 20 milliseconds to 30 milliseconds, which is faster than the human eye blinks, Verizon’s Mecum said.

Fans are able to view a game from multiple camera angles.

An essential piece of the Suns’ practice facilities and arena is their use of millimeter wave 5G. MmWave is a band of radio airwaves that provides super-high speeds but can only travel short distances and gets blocked by objects like windows and trees. For sporting venues, though, those downsides aren’t an issue. Teams can easily install towers where needed in stadiums and arenas. MmWave’s ability to handle a huge number of devices on one network, at the same time, is ideal for fans during a game.

With the Suns’ stadium app, fans are able to receive feedback similar to what the coaches see while watching the game. The app is available to users with or without 5G phones. Seven different camera angles let fans view replays and real-time stats on the players. The app is available both in the stadium and at home. “You can go back and look at replays, and you’re in control instead of waiting for the jumbotron,” Mecum said.

Suns’ players and coaches are also able to get real-time feedback that lets them make live adjustments. The speeds needed to interpret this data captured during the Suns’ practice is only available over 5G, the coaching staff says. Neither Wi-Fi nor 4G can produce the results as quickly.

For now, the Suns are only using real-time analysis over 5G in the team’s practice facility. The NBA has strict guidelines surrounding what data collection is available in-game and doesn’t allow the kind of analysis the Suns perform in the practice facility.

The Suns aren’t the only ones interested in the numbers. Sports analytics bridges the gap between team stats and interpretation. When teams crunch data, the goal is almost always to figure out where performance fell short. After establishing areas in need of improvement, teams can optimize practice time using the data found from analytics. It’s a big business — the global sports analytics market size is expected to grow from $1.9 billion in 2019 to $5.2 billion by 2024, according to a report from MarketsandMarkets.

“When you are a professional athlete, standing on your feet just moving around a basketball court is actually considered work,” Resh said. “When you don’t have a ton of time to practice, you have to make your practices as efficient as possible.”

As the intersection between sports and analytics continues to grow, there is a need for 5G and real-time data, said Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin. Many sporting venues are incorporating 5G and mmWave to receive feedback as quickly as possible.

Perhaps the best-known example of sports analytics was captured in the 2011 film Moneyball. The movie, based on the Oakland Athletics baseball team, explained how analysis and statistics alone could lead to victories.

Brad Pitt played then-A’s general manager Billy Beane, who put together a winning team utilizing analytics and minimal funding. He studied sabermetrics, “the objective knowledge about baseball,” to rebuild the team on a low budget. Through studying these analytics, he led his team to a 20-game winning streak, the longest one in franchise history.

While the Suns can use 5G to track performance in the practice arena, the coaches aren’t able to do such analysis in the arena. Instead, Second Spectrum exclusively partners with the NBA, as well as soccer’s Premier League and Major League Soccer, to provide in-game player tracking.

After an initial response, Second Spectrum didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Players, coaches and fans can use Second Spectrum to access years of game history and find game playbacks within seconds. The company uses machine learning and computer vision to form a tracking system. It’s able to collect 3D data live from cameras within the arenas and then generate reports showing player location, player stats and the type of play in progress.

Even though the Suns didn’t come out on top this season, the conversation around what 5G has provided is just beginning.

“That real-time feedback is what we found to be the best method of teaching and learning for our players and for our coaches,” Resh said.

CNET’s Shara Tibken contributed to this report.

Correction, 11:19 a.m. PT: This story initially misstated the Phoenix Suns’ history with the NBA Finals. The team has made it three times, in 1976, 1993 and 2021, losing each time four games to two.

UFC 261 Usman vs. Masvidal: Start time, how to watch or stream online

UFC 261 is about to start! Here’s everything you need to know…

Usman and Masvidal face-off today before their fight at UFC 261

Usman defeated Masvidal in their first encounter in what was a fairly one-sided battle. But, given the fact Masvidal took the fight on extremely short notice (and the fact Masvidal is probably the biggest draw in the division) this contest is still a compelling one. Masvidal showed flashes of a skillset that could trouble a wrestler like Usman. This fight could be a close one. Certainly much closer than in the first.

The co-main event is perhaps the most exciting for hardcore fans. Zhang Weili is UFC’s first Chinese champion and her last fight — against Joanna Jędrzejczyk — wasn’t just the best women’s fight in MMA history, it might be the best fight ever, period. The thought of her facing off against former UFC strawweight champ Rose Namajunas is a salivating one. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is another fight of the year candidate.

The third title fight pits one of the most dominant champions currently fighting in the UFC against one of its most notorious buzzsaws. Valentina Shevchenko has looked utterly indestructible at flyweight but in Jessica Andrade, she’s facing an ex-champion who will pressure and come forward no matter what.

This will almost certainly be Shevchenko’s toughest title defence yet.

The main card starts at 10 p.m ET (7 p.m. PT) but here are all the details…

This year the UFC entered into a new partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 261, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site:

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 261 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 261 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.

Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN to change your IP address to access those US, UK or Australian options listed above. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

Earlier this week, at he UFC media day, some of the fighters on the main card had their first face-offs ahead of the fights this Saturday.

Normal disclaimer, given COVID-19 and the general chaos of UFC cards, this line-up could change at any time. We’ll keep this as current as possible.

Is Tom Brady’s viral video real or fake?

Tom Brady is great, but he’s not that great. Is he?

The experts are calling “fake.”

“Training camp starts this week,” the quarterback for the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers writes. “I’m looking forward to having some actual receivers again…”

Brady is good, but this is Minnesota Fats trick shot good. And it turns out even an athlete as good as Brady needed some help with this one. When he posted the video on Instagram, Brady tagged video director Ari Fararooy and creative agency Shadow Lion, a company that was founded “with the goal of supporting Tom Brady’s off-field media efforts.”

Fararooy captioned the video on his own Instagram by saying, “haters will say it’s fake,” and then explained things/muddied the waters further by crediting himself as the director and person in charge of VFX (visual effects), Shadow Lion as the producer, and creative studio Warm N Fuzzy TV with the CGI, or computer-generated imagery.

Fararooy and representatives for Shadow Lion and Warm N Fuzzy TV didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. But urban-legends site Snopes.com seized on the viral video and started pointing out that, in addition to the credits given to people who work to create special effects, there are other indicators that this isn’t real.

Snopes points out a three-tweet thread from the Captain Disillusion account, which often points out and explains fake or misleading images and videos.

“Note how the patch of the background behind/above the machine wobbles differently from the rest of the environment,” the account noted. “It’s hiding a person who was catching/throwing back the ball I guess. Also……check out how the machine & its cord slide around on the field. The perfect isolation and the single rigid toy bounce with which it falls tell me it’s CG! They prob didn’t want to crash a real machine because for some reason they cost $2K dollars.”

Fake or real, fans had fun with Brady’s video, Remember that deflated football issue back when Brady was with the New England Patriots? Twitter users sure do.

“Is that fully inflated?” wrote Andrew Feinberg.

Another person thought the machine could make an NFL team, writing, “Sign that thing to a 3yr 15mil contract.”

Said one Twitter user of the video, “I can’t tell if this is real or nah.”

And someone else responded, “the fact that we have to consider it, shows his greatness lmao.”

It won’t be long before Brady will be out there throwing for real again. The Bucs’ first preseason game is Aug. 14 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Bucs will play the Dallas Cowboys in the first real game of the NFL season on Sept. 9.

WWE is using TikTok to find its next SummerSlam ring announcer

Applicants with the “most entertaining” videos will win a trip to Vegas for the August event.

WWE is looking for fresh talent to serve as a ring announcer.

WWE will review each video submission before selecting two winners from its TikTok channel, which has more than 11 million followers, on Aug. 16. The company has also been using TikTok’s Resumes feature, which lets job seekers post video resumes to TikTok for positions with partner companies like Chipotle and Target, to find and recruit its next generation of Superstars. Selected applicants will attend a multiday talent tryout in Vegas as part of SummerSlam.

SummerSlam will stream live at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET) on Peacock in the US and on WWE Network everywhere else.

See also: TikTok has a new resume feature for job seekers

When and how to watch skateboarding at the Tokyo Olympics

Here’s what you need to know.

Skateboarding is at the Tokyo Olympics and it’s been awesome so far.

The park discipline will feature a course that resembles a large basin with lots of dips, twists and turns.

The Park event takes place on the 4th and 5th of August.

The women’s Park Qualification takes place at 8 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. PDT) on August 3. The final takes place 11:30 p.m. (8.30 p.m. PDT) on the same day.

The men’s Park Qualification takes place at 8 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. PDT) on August 4. The final takes place 11:30 p.m. (8.30 p.m. PDT) on the same day.

Skateboarding at the Olympics features two disciplines: park and street.

The park competition will take place on a hollowed-out course featuring a complex series of twists and turns. Park courses resemble large bowls with steep sides, nearly vertical at the top. Skaters send themselves to dizzying heights, performing jaw-dropping spins and tricks midair, and then gracefully bring themselves back down to the bowl to do it all over again on the other side.

The street competition features a straight course with stairs, handrails, benches, walls and slopes to mimic a real street. This kind of skateboarding is characterized by riding along curbs and rails, leaping into the air without using hands, and that familiar grind of board on metal.

Olympic skateboarders will experience at least some of the creative freedom they get in their home parks and streets: They’re free to choose which parts of the course to cover and, of course, which tricks to perform. Also, in an attempt to maintain the feel of the sport, music will accompany each rider.

Only one athlete rides at a time, and competitors get three timed runs to post their best score.

The street discipline mimics what it’s like to skateboard in a city environment. The course will feature rails, benches, curbs and other things you’d find on a real street.

Judges will score athletes based on speed, difficulty, originality, timing, stability and the overall flow of the performance. One important skill judges will be looking for is the ability to seem suspended in midair.

Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 3: Start time, how to watch or stream online

Fury and Wilder face off for the third time today.

Tyson Fury, wearing his “Undertaker” hat.

But in a strange twist, Joshua recently suffered and upset loss to Oleksandr Usyk, which brings much more gravitas to Fury vs. Wilder fight. Maybe this is a fight between the two best heavyweights in the world.

It’s a huge fight regardless, with a bit of drama attached. Wilder has accused Fury of cheating in their second fight, repeating his accusations again in the lead up to this fight, claims Fury has repeatedly rubbished.

Here’s everything you need to know.

The Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder main PPV card kicks off at 9pm EDT (6pm PDT) on Saturday Oct 9. For those of you in the UK that translates to 2am on Sunday Oct 10. In Australia that’s 12pm on Sunday Oct 10.

If you’re looking to tune into the main event between Fury and Wilder, it won’t take place before 11pm EDT (8pm PDT). So set your alarms for then. Depending on how fights on the undercard play out, it could be a little later.

In the US, your best bet is probably to order the PPV via Fox Sports.

But much like the UFC events, the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder fight is also available on ESPN Plus. But you do need to be a subscriber to the service. This means you’ll not only have to pay $79.99 for the PPV event, you’ll also have to subscribe to the ESPN+ service.

If you’re already a subscriber, you just need to pay $79.99 for the event itself.

If you’re not a subscriber, your cheapest option is to buy a one month subscription at $6.99 plus the PPV at $79.99. But if you’re a sports fan it might make more sense to pick up the one year subscription at $69.99 to save some cash. Another option would be to pick up the Disney Bundle, which gets you access to ESPN+, Disney Plus and Hulu. That’s a deal worth grabbing.

In the UK the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder fight is exclusive to BT Sport for £24.95.

In Australia the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder fight is exclusive to Kayo for £24.95.

Here’s everyone fighting on the main card…

Why Naomi Osaka dropped out of Wimbledon: What you need to know

Naomi Osaka intends to return at the Olympics in July.

Osaka has now withdrawn from Wimbledon in addition to the French Open.

Osaka’s current plan is to make a return to professional Tennis is her home country of Japan at the Olympics in July.

“Naomi Osaka will be greatly missed by all of us at Wimbledon this year, but we completely understand her decision,” Wimbledon reps told CNET in an emailed statement. “We wish her a happy time with her friends and family and look forward to welcoming her back to Wimbledon next year.”

Osaka’s withdrawal is the latest in a series that began with controversy at Roland Garros.

After canceling press obligations during the French Open as a result of mental health issues, Osaka — one of the top-ranked women tennis players in the world — was fined $15,000 and threatened with expulsion by tournament organizers. Ultimately, Osaka decided to take matters into her own hands and left the tournament of her own volition.

“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” Osaka, 23, wrote in a statement describing her struggles with depression. “I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.”

After initially criticizing Osaka’s unwillingness to meet the press in person and answer questions after matches (see below), Gilles Moretton, president of the French Tennis Federation, delivered a statement on Osaka’s decision to exit the match — a statement he delivered in French and English before walking out of the media room without taking questions from the press.

“First and foremost, we are sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka. The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland-Garros is unfortunate. We wish her the best and the quickest possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi at our Tournament next year,” Moretton said. “We remain very committed to all athletes’ well-being and to continually improving every aspect of players’ experience in our Tournament, including with the media.”

A stream of support has since come out for Osaka from fans and professional athletes alike. Here’s everything you need to know.

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese tennis player and the current world number 2, behind Australian Ash Barty, having won four Grand Slam championships. Born in Japan to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother, Osaka grew up in the US and won her first Grand Slam — the US Open — aged 20.

Since then she has become a global superstar in the world of tennis, holding the position of number one in 2019 and winning three more Grand Slam tournaments.

Osaka is famously shy and soft spoken, but has regularly pushed past this to use her platform for activism. In 2020 she withdrew from the Cincinnati Open to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake. During the 2020 US Open she famously wore a series of masks bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Philando Castile, and Tamir Rice to raise awareness during Black Lives Matters protests.

Last week Naomi Osaka posted on her social media accounts, stating she wouldn’t be taking part in press conferences during the French Open, to protect her mental health.

“I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes mental health,” she wrote, “and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one.”

In response Roland Garros posted a statement on its website and issued a $15,000 fine.

“Following this announcement,” read the statement, “the Roland-Garros teams asked her to reconsider her position and tried unsuccessfully to speak with her to check on her well-being, understand the specifics of her issue and what might be done to address it on site.

“Following the lack of engagement by Naomi Osaka, the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open jointly wrote to her to check on her well-being and offer support, underline their commitment to all athletes’ well-being and suggest dialog on the issues. She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players.

“Naomi Osaka today chose not to honour her contractual media obligations. The Roland-Garros referee has therefore issued her a $15,000 fine, in keeping with article III H. of the Code of Conduct.”

In the statement, Roland Garros claimed mental health was of the “utmost importance”, but also posted a now-deleted tweet, that made light of Osaka’s mental health concerns.

In response to the fine and the threat of expulsion, Osaka withdrew from the tournament.

“This isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago,” she wrote. “I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my wellbeing is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.

“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.

“The truth is I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”

Osaka wrote that she was already feeling “vulnerable and anxious” about the French Open and the prospect of having to face the press, that she was exercising “self care” by skipping the conferences. Osaka also claimed she privately wrote to the organizers of the Grand Slam tournaments to apologize.

“I’m going to take some time away from the court now,” she said, “but when the time is right I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans.”

Observers were quick to note that Moretton’s follow up statement expressing his sadness and support for Osaka seemed disingenuous. “The immense irony of the FFT President not taking questions from the media in the wake of this Osaka withdrawal is not lost on anyone,” wrote journalist Ben Rothenberg, describing Moretton.

In the wake of Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open multiple athletes across different sports came out in support.

Serena Williams, who Osaka famously defeated to win her very first Grand Slam recently commented on the situation.

“I feel like I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it’s like,” she said. “I’ve been in those positions

“We have different personalities, and people are different. Not everyone is the same. I’m thick. Other people are thin. You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to, in the best way she thinks she can.”

Venus Williams, had a different response. Speaking out on how she dealt with press conferences — during a press conference.

“[M]e personally, how I cope, how I deal with it, was that I know every single person asking me a question can’t play as well as I can and never will,” Williams said. “So no matter what you say, or what you write, you’ll never light a candle to me.”

Tennis legends like Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova — alongside athletes like Steph Curry — tweeted messages backing up Osaka.

“Right now, the important thing is that we give her the space and time she needs,” said Billie Jean King.

“You shouldn’t ever have to make a decision like this,” said NBA star Steph Curry, “but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be don’t protect their own.”

Osaka received support from all corners. Not just for standing up for herself, but for raising awareness of mental health issues.

Calm, an app dedicated to helping with sleep and meditation, is donated $15,000 — the equivalent of Osaka’s initial fine — to Laureus Sport in France, a company that does work in the mental health space.

It’s also offered to the same if any other tennis athletes are fined for taking the same stand in the future.

NFL heads to Twitter Spaces to produce content for the 2021 season

The NFL is taking to Twitter Spaces to talk football throughout the 2021 season and beyond.

“The commitment to Twitter Spaces represents another innovative step forward in the longstanding partnership between the NFL and Twitter,” said Blake Stuchin, the NFL’s vice president of digital media business development. “We’re excited to bring NFL fans a new way to engage with live audio ahead of our biggest events of the year and every week throughout the NFL season.”

The news comes on the heels of the NFL’s previous partnership with the Twitter Spaces rival Clubhouse, which saw the league host live audio content on the platform during the 2021 NFL draft in May. Moving forward, the league says to expect to see live audio content like that, including during upcoming drafts, exclusively on Twitter Spaces.