Naomi Osaka is currently ranked as one of the top athletes in the world and the highest-paid female athlete ever. This week, she made headlines when she announced on social media that she would be dropping out of the semifinals for the Western & Southern Open in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake by law enforcement officials in Wisconsin.
The news of Blake, an unarmed Black man named who was shot seven times in his back by officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in front of his young children, caused outrage online, leading to protests against the police officers responsible. Blake’s father revealed earlier this week that his son is paralyzed from the waist down, and the family plans on seeking justice for their son. The tennis superstar is the latest athlete to protest against police brutality by choosing not to play including players from the NBA and MLB leagues.
“Before I am [an] athlete, I am a Black woman. And as a Black woman, I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis,” wrote the tennis player in a statement she posted on social media in English and Japanese for her followers.
“Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach,” Osaka added. “I’m exhausted from having a new hashtag pop up every few days, and I’m extremely tired of having this same conversation over and over again. When will it ever be enough?”
“I don’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport, I consider that a step in the right direction.”
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