Professional sports still have a “long way to go” in how they handle mental-health struggles, said former Seahawk Richard Sherman, who praised tennis star Naomi Osaka for helping put the issue in the spotlight.
“She did a phenomenal job, and I think that it’s going to lead to more people coming out,” Sherman said in an interview with Bloomberg QuickTake. “She was very vulnerable, and I think that liberates a lot of people to come out.”
Osaka pulled out of the French Open last month, citing anxiety she feels over holding news conferences, and the move ignited a broader discussion about the taboos surrounding mental health in sports.
Sherman, a five-time All-Pro cornerback in the NFL, is backing a wellness technology company called Nurosene Health Inc. that aims to improve brain health. He’s serving as an ambassador for the startup, which was founded last year to give access — via an app — to treatment for neurological conditions. This week, the company started trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker MEND.
It was Sherman’s personal experience going through the pandemic that encouraged him to team up with the company, which recently launched the Nuro App, as both an investor and endorser.
“The pandemic has taken a toll on everybody,” he said. “It’s given everyone a chance to introspect.”
Sherman, 33, is no stranger to investing, having dabbled in everything from cryptocurrency to esports. He’s also a promoter of financial literacy and supports the rise of retail traders, who have fueled big gains for stocks such as GameStop Corp. and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.
“It’s really disrupting the market, disrupting the cultural norms — the economic norms — that we have become accustomed to, at least in America,” he said. “It’s been really cool to see a different generation of investors, a different thought process of investors, and money going to different places.”
People who historically couldn’t accumulate much wealth are now able to make “vast sums of money through an industry that wasn’t existent five or 10 years ago,” he said.
Sherman, who attended Stanford University before playing for the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, is currently a free agent. There’s been much speculation about which team he may join, but he’s keeping that under wraps for now.
“I want to get to a team that’s competing for a championship, so that’s what I’m focused on and waiting for a right opportunity,” he said. “When it comes, that’s where I’ll be.”
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