Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has encouraged other athletes to step up and speak about their mental health. A few months ago, tennis superstar Naomi Osaka came out and spoke about her mental health. At the Tokyo Olympics, gymnasts Simone Biles came out and spoke mental health.
“Well, we should keep talking about it,” Rodgers told Kevin Clark of TheRinger.com. “Keep talking about ways that we individually deal with stress and deal with anxiety and deal with pressure and deal with depression or loneliness.
I think that would really help. Because we, whether we like it or not, have a platform to influence people. And our words are often listened to more than the person who’s not in the public eye as much. So we have an opportunity — not an obligation, an opportunity — to maybe share some of our own ways of dealing with things and break some of the stigma around mental health."
Rodgers praised Biles
Biles pulled out of multiple events at the Tokyo Olympics to focus on her mental health. Biles returned at the end and won bronze medal. "I give Simone so much credit for her ability to speak the truth, her truth, and to answer tough questions, and to have the courage to say, ‘I’m scared’ and ‘I don’t feel like I should be out there,’” Rodgers told Clark.
“She’s the greatest gymnast of all time. And mental health [awareness] is an issue that is continuing to break down the stigmas that don’t allow us to talk about it or only allow us to talk about it in a super negative, depressive, suicidal way.
People of all ages and all professions are dealing with mental issues, especially during COVID. You’ve seen the suicide hotline [calls] going way up. We’ve seen so many different statistics around mental health. . . . “It’s something we should be talking about and ways to help people get through it, whether it’s techniques or therapy or just conversations letting people know they’re not alone.
And that’s what Simone did. I’m very, very proud of her. I’ve gotten to know her a little bit at times over the years. And I think what she did and then the way she handled herself, cheering for her teammates, was really special to watch in a tough situation for her. And I give her just a tremendous amount of respect”.