Naomi Osaka Will Wear Masks at the US Open in Memory of Black People Killed by Police

Culture

As people across the country continue to take to the streets to protest racism and demand justice for Black people killed by police, tennis player Naomi Osaka is making her statement on the court.

During yesterday’s US Open match, the Grand Slam winner wore a face mask printed with the name of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician who was killed by police in March.

In an interview, Osaka said that she has seven different masks with the names of Black people who have been killed by police and that she plans to honor their lives throughout the course of the US Open by wearing them on the court.

“It’s quite sad that seven masks isn’t enough for the amount of names,” Osaka said. “Hopefully, I’ll get to the finals and you can see all of them.”

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Osaka previously spoke out in support of Black Lives Matter. In late August, she said she would not be playing one of her matches in order to draw attention to the demands of the movement and the prevailing legacy of racial injustice.

“Before I am an athlete, I am a black woman,” she wrote in a statement. “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.”

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