News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Aug. 24, 2020: Japanese-born, Caribbean roots tennis star Naomi Osaka took a stand for Jacob Blake Thursday by dropping out of the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open in New York in protest.
Osaka, the two-time Grand Slam champion, ranked at No. 10 in the world, posted on Twitter: “”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. 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.”
Several hours later, the tournament, a warmup to next week’s U.S. Open, announced it would pause play until today.
Osaka, 22, was born in Japan to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother. She was due to face No. 21 Elise Mertens in the semis yesterday. She is set to begin play at the fanless 2020 US Open which officially kicks off on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020.
Blake, a 29-year-old unarmed black man, was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha, Wisc. police on Sunday and is reportedly paralyzed from the waist down. Two were killed and one injured Tuesday night when protesters there were shot by a 17-year-old white man from Illinois. So far the NBA and the WNBA as well as Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer have all joined in protest action by boycotting games.