Naomi Osaka Pledges To Raise Awareness Of Racial Injustice, By Wearing Names Of Police Brutality Victims On Court

“Before I am an athlete, I am a Black woman.”


Top Image:@tennishead Preview Image: @Allure

Professional tennis player Naomi Osaka has been working hard to bring awareness to racial injustice, by wearing the names of police brutality victims on face masks at matches. 

This political statement follows Osaka’s decision to pull out of the Western & Southern tournament last week due to the police shooting of a 29-year-old Black man, Jacob Blake. Osaka announced her withdrawal from the semi-finals via twitter, with a post that reads “Before I am an athlete, I am a Black woman. (…) 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.” Her absence certainly did get a conversation going, with many major media publications covering the news, and the tournament itself pausing play for the day. Osaka’s stand in solidarity was well-received by fans who commented on their support on the original post, “While it will be sad not seeing you play, I have total respect for your decision to sit it out. Good luck next week,” said one user. 

Now back on the court, Osaka, who represents Japan, continues to fight against racial violence by raising awareness of shooting victims, including (previously) Breonna Taylor, and more recently, Elijah McClain. Osaka plans to wear the names of seven victims, one for each round, for as long as she’s in the tournament. In a statement about the politically charged face masks, she poignantly said, “it's quite sad that seven masks aren't enough for the number of names.” 

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