Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw from the Olympic women’s team gymnastics competition as well as the Individual All-Around, claiming mental health issues, has been the greatest sports topic this week. Biles has gotten support from a variety of athletes and entertainers across the sports world and beyond, including Cavaliers forward and mental health champion Kevin Love.
Love wrote a message on Instagram in support of Biles and others who have openly discussed their mental health challenges.
“Understand this 👉🏼… by being open about your struggles, you flip vulnerabilities into victories. The mental freedom comes in knowing once you put yourself out there, the other side is a reward of community and belonging,” Love wrote. “To Simone and others who have openly shared their story…You are helping many. Continue to lean into discomfort and vulnerability. Don’t deny your story — defy the ending.”
“To those who aren’t venturing out into the “Arena”…we are all raised to believe emotions aren’t worthy of our attention. I recall reading a fitting term once: “emotion-phobic.” This isn’t a way to live. Your perspectives are understood but NO ONE benefits from withholding compassion.”
Love has become one of the most vocal proponents of mental health in sports over the last few years. Love, like tennis player Naomi Osaka, Spurs winger DeMar DeRozan, and a slew of other athletes, has been candid about his mental health difficulties, most notably in a Player’s Tribune piece in which he revealed suffering a panic attack during a game.
As Love points out, having these dialogues is crucial in letting individuals know they aren’t alone in their mental health difficulties, especially when those who are known for their physical toughness exhibit signs of fragility and seek treatment.