Tennis star Naomi Osaka sits out match to protest shooting of Jacob Blake

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Naomi Osaka stretches for a ball while playing Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine during the Western & Southern Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 25, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City.

Professional tennis player Naomi Osaka announced Wednesday evening that she would sit out a semifinals match scheduled for Thursday in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

“[B]efore 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,” Osaka said in a statement posted on Twitter. “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.”

Osaka decried the “continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police,” adding “I’m exhausted of 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?”

Osaka is the latest athlete to announce she will sit out a game or athletic event to draw attention to the Blake case. The Milwaukee Bucks and Milwaukee Brewers both sat out games Wednesday. The NBA announced three playoff games scheduled for Wednesday will be rescheduled, with the WNBA following suit shortly thereafter.

Kenosha, Wis., police shot Blake several times in the back as he turned to enter his vehicle Sunday. Blake’s father has since said his son is paralyzed from the waist down. Widespread protests and riots have broken out in the city since the shooting, with President Trump announcing federal officers would be deployed to the city Wednesday night.

Tags Black Lives Matter Blake shooting Donald Trump Jacob Blake Kenosha Naomi Osaka Osaka Protests Tennis

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