Prince William is still offering vague ‘mental health’ comments about sports

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge unveils the plaques as he officially opens the new graduate building, the H B Allen Centre, at Keble College, Oxford University in Oxford, central England on October 3, 2019.

This is something that happened last week, but People Magazine only recently got around to writing about it, so I thought I would too. One of Prince William’s big causes is, somewhat bizarrely, “mental health in sports,” and even more specifically, “mental health in football.” I say “bizarrely” because William is grossly unqualified to speak about the following: mental health, sports, coronavirus and, you know, racism. Try talking about mental health in modern sports without ever mentioning all of the racism within team sports, racism from sports fans and racism within professional commentators. It’s a huge gaping blind spot which William isn’t prepared to say anything about beyond “I’m bored with it.” William just wants to do Zoom calls where he says “mental health” a million times and cracks jokes with the bros.

Earlier this week, Prince William attended a call-in roundtable discussion with a number of elite athletes, along with Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The conversation was held as many across the U.K. are returning to work in the midst of coronavirus restrictions beginning to be lifted. Many of the athletes spoke about how their own careers had been strengthened by focusing on their mental health, and they also discussed how the sporting world can do their part to help the general population as they emerge from lockdown.

During the call, the Duke of Cambridge stressed the importance of having a culture that supports mental health present within all sports, and he also spoke about his mental health campaign Heads Up, which has been promoted alongside soccer in the U.K. throughout the season.

“Through the Heads Up campaign, the football community has come together to do its part in driving lasting change by encouraging people to open up about their mental wellbeing, at the same time as embedding a mentally healthy culture across the sport,” William said.

“I believe that there is more we can do collectively to ensure this is replicated across all of sport. And that is why I am so happy to be here with you all to discuss how we can make that a reality,” he added. “We have a unique opportunity to use the tragedy of the pandemic to bring about positive change. As the sporting world begins to return it is vital that we talk about the mental wellbeing of our sportspeople and fans.”

William’s initiative, which was also featured in a documentary, is set to culminate at the FA Cup final, slated for Aug. 1, when the showpiece game will be named the Heads Up FA Cup final. The games are set to re-start next week.

[From People]

I mean… I feel like a gigantic a–hole when I do this, because mental health is important and when athletes speak about their own mental health issues and journeys, it’s always very powerful and it ends up bringing a lot of attention to the importance of mental health – think about Kevin Love speaking about his panic attack in the middle of a game, or Mardy Fish speaking about his anxiety disorder. Those are legitimately important conversations and moments that bring a lot of attention to sports and mental health. And I just feel like William is trying to co-opt that conversation and make it shiny and royal so he can take credit for “starting” it when his interest is barely a mile wide and an inch deep. Plus, his lack of engagement on racism in sport (not to mention racism in everyday life) is so notable and frustrating.

The Duke Of Cambridge Visits Hendon FC As Part Of The Heads Up Campaign

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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14 Responses to “Prince William is still offering vague ‘mental health’ comments about sports”

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  1. Aurora says:

    Let it be noted that William’s televised mental health roundtables were hastily conceived after the announcement of Harry’s Apple TV documentary with Oprah. That documentary is still in progress meaning it will likely be more than a surface level examination of mental health.

  2. TheOriginalMia says:

    There’s so much racism in sports. Let’s unpack how racist fans are and how they abuse the players. The toil it takes on people of color to just exist is exhausting. Multiply that by 10 (100) for athletes, who fans and owners treat like so much cattle/property, and it weighs so much on their minds. There’s no way to discuss mental health in sports without touching on the effects of racism on athletes. William ain’t the one to do that properly because he won’t even admit what happened to his own brother and his family. I also don’t think William has a leg to stand on when he actively participated in the bullying of Harry & Meghan. It just rings false. He’s performing.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      You just need to look at the incidents on London on Saturday to see plain as day the issues with racisms and sports – those people were football hooligans and many of them were wearing the national football strip.

      William as President of the FA should have come out and said something against these people and yet *crickets*. Even Boris called them out and yet still nothing from the President of the FA.

      He clearly has the same acting coach as CEO Kate – both are terrible ‘performers’.

  3. Becks1 says:

    Kaiser, I agree with your analysis completely. Mental health for athletes should be discussed more and should be more of an open topic. Is William the one to lead that charge? Nah. Like you said, his interest is a mile long and an inch deep. To me, this really comes off like “William wanted to hang out with professional athletes more.”

    If William cant even say “Black lives matter” because its too political, how on earth is he going to get involved in some of the issues affecting these athletes??

  4. Digital Unicorn says:

    What else do we expect from the Duke and Duchess of Vagueness.

    Also the Fail had an interesting piece over the weekend about how TQ, Chuck and other senior courtiers are ‘closely watching’ Cain and Unable to make sure they don’t repeat the mistakes of other younger royals.

    Hmm, I took that to be a veiled warning to the Cams over their PR shenanigans and the upcoming Harry lawsuit.

  5. Mindy_Dopple says:

    Wow. They really are just going to try to avoid BLM in its entirety. Look over here let’s talk about mental health and not what’s happening CURRENTLY in our country.

  6. Julia says:

    William (and the RF) seem to be making a calculation: no one is pro-mental illness, but plenty of his fans are pro-racism. So they’re going to stick with “polite” concerns that are virtually inarguable: take care of your mental health! Look after small children! Basically, they want causes that have no opponents. But in this moment in time, and considering their own family dynamics, silence IS saying something. I truly have no idea on the RF’s personal level of racism, but from a PR and historical perspective, I think they’re making a mistake: not speaking up on racism is tacitly endorsing it, and future, increasingly diverse generations are going to remember that decision.

    • anotherlily says:

      That’s a brilliant summary! I’ve no doubt some of the royal family are racist. Princess Michael of Kent wearing her infamous slave brooch at Meghan’s first introduction to the extended family was a huge red flag. She was reportedly ‘distraught’ at having caused offence. But she can’t be that stupid. It was a calculated racist insult. The Queen probably thinks that having Ghanaian-born Lieut. Col. Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah as her Equerry is enough to signal she isn’t racist. But it isn’t enough.

  7. Nic919 says:

    When William put it out in the media that he thought Harry was fragile for discussing his mental health he should have been kicked off all mental health initiatives. You cannot pretend to care about mental health and then shame your own brother about it.
    And William remains bored with racism so really he has nothing to say in anything.

  8. yinyang says:

    Hasn’t gone out since pandemic, not even to go shopping nothing when people triple his age have, shameful. Time to get back to work, Willie.

  9. Royalwatcher says:

    I honestly think The Egg just wants an opportunity to rub shoulders with famous athletes (and actors through his BAFTA patronage). That’s it IMO. But his advisors need some legitimate reason for him to do so, so someone thought up this MH angle. But, The Egg has no empathy and can’t think about anyone but himself so this will never really work. He doesn’t care about other people’s mental health or he would have been kinder to Harry and Meghan. If he can’t even treat his own brother’s supposed MH struggles with care and respect (and privacy!) how can we believe he’d do it for anyone else’s? Plus, he’s not going to really learn anything to do well in this role and his interest will fade as something shiny and new takes its place.

  10. Maevo says:

    Yeah this just feels like William looking for ways to make attending football games into official engagements and not any genuine concern for mental health.