Stephen A. Smith doesn’t feel Naomi Osaka was being bullied by journalist

Stephen A. Smith doesn't feel Naomi Osaka was being bullied by journalist
Naomi Osaka (Photo credit: / Rena Schild)

Stephen A. Smith doesn’t see anything wrong with the way Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Paul Daugherty questioned Naomi Osaka and feels the term “bully” is being overused. Osaka briefly left a press conference in Cincinnati on Monday after she appeared to get upset with a line of questioning about her relationship with the media, leading her agent to describe a reporter as a “bully.” The tennis champion withdrew from the French Open earlier this year after being punished for refusing to do media conferences, saying her mental health was adversely impacted by certain lines of questioning.

On Monday, Daugherty a reporter from a Cincinnati newspaper asked Osaka at the Western & Southern Open: “You’re not crazy about dealing with us, especially in this format. Yet you have a lot of outside interests that are served by having a media platform. How do you balance the two?”

Osaka twice asked the reporter to clarify his question and turned down an offer from the moderator to ”move on to the next question” before giving a full reply. Osaka’s agent, Stuart Duguid, condemned the reporter’s line of questioning on Monday in a statement provided to Reuters.

“The bully at the Cincinnati Enquirer is the epitome of why player/media relations are so fraught right now. Everyone on that Zoom will agree that his tone was all wrong and his sole purpose was to intimidate. Really appalling behavior. And this insinuation that Naomi owes her off-court success to the media is a myth – don’t be so self-indulgent,” Duguid told Reuters.

Smith came to Daugherty’s defense on ESPN’s “First Take” and said he felt the journalist was fair and pleasant.

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