Simone Biles pulling out the Olympics women’s team gymnastics competition and the Individual All-Around, citing her mental health, has been perhaps the biggest story in sports this week. Across the sports world and beyond, Biles has also received support from various athletes and entertainers, including Cavaliers forward and mental health advocate Kevin Love.
On his Instagram, Love posted a message in support of Biles and others who have openly shared their struggles with mental health.
“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.”
Over the last several years, Love has become among the many prominent advocates for mental health in sports. Along with the likes of tennis star Naomi Osaka, Spurs wing DeMar DeRozan and many others, Love has of the most open athletes in documenting his struggles with mental health, most notably in a Player’s Tribune essay where he disclosed having a panic attack at halftime of a game.
As Love notes, having these conversations is important in letting people know they aren’t alone in dealing with mental health struggles, particularly when those known for their physical toughness show some of this vulnerability and that they too seek help.