Mendoza: Absurd but Osaka’s OK to leave

Naomi Osaka got depressed when she won the US Open in 2018. What? So why compete there at all?

In victory, she won no less than $1 million. And she got depressed. What? She’d be fine if she had lost?

Now, look at this.

After her US Open triumph, she’d win three more majors. Was she also depressed three more times with those three Slam victories?

Four Slams won in four years could easily earn Naomi Osaka more than $5 million. And she is depressed. What?

Forbes Magazine listed her as pocketing no less than $37 million in 2020, the year the pandemic started ravaging the world. You fatten your bank account that much, in the most trying of times, and you get depressed?

My esteemed colleague, John Pages, said Naomi Osaka stashed away $55.2 million mainly from product endorsements, including Nike, Louis Vuitton, Nissin, Tag Heuer, Nissan and a lot more. That made her the biggest female money-earner last year. And she is depressed. What?

And so, it’s goddamn true. Money can’t make you happy. Money can’t buy happiness.

And so, Naomi Osaka, 23, shocked the world with her confession of depression the last four years.

It was unraveled following her withdrawal from the ongoing French Open at Roland-Garros in Paris.

After winning her first round assignment, Osaka skipped the customary press conference, saying she was never comfortable answering questions from the press.

She was fined the standard $15,000. Fine.

What wasn’t fine was when officials threatened to expel Osaka if she’d continue avoiding press conferences.

Absurd, if not downright idiotic. Apex of arrogance.

Osaka did nothing wrong. That’s her innate right. Freedom of choice. Impose fines, all right, but expulsion? Crazy as hell.

Dallas owner Mark Cuban used to pay fines for habitually criticizing NBA officiating. Fine. He was never expelled from any arena.

Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving has accumulated $60,000 in fines for repeatedly ignoring post-game interviews. Fine. Never been expelled, too.

And now this, Osaka expelling herself.

“We are all different from each other,” said 23-time Slam champion Serena Williams.

Nobody wins but the theater of the absurd. What?