Naomi Osaka to skip Western & Southern Open semis in protest of racial injustice

Naomi Osaka will skip her Western & Southern Open semifinal in protest of racial injustice in the United States following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Blake – a Black man – was repeatedly shot in the back by police in Wisconsin and the incident has prompted nationwide protests within professional sports.

All three NBA playoff games at Walt Disney World Resort on Wednesday were postponed amid the calls for change to police brutality and injustice.

The Milwaukee Brewers-Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners-San Diego Padres games were also postponed in MLB midweek, while most of Wednesday’s MLS fixtures were also called off.

Now, the two-time grand slam champion Osaka — who was due to meet Elise Mertens in Thursday’s semi-final at the WTA Premier event in New York — will not take to the court.

“Hello, as many of you are aware I was scheduled to play my semi-finals match tomorrow. However, before I am a [sic] athlete, I am a black woman,” Osaka wrote in a Twitter statement after defeating Anett Kontaveit.

“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.

“Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of police is honestly making me sick to my stomach. 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? #JacobBlake, #BreonnaTaylor, #ElijahMcclain, #GeorgeFloyd.”

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