Mask after masks, Osaka brings protest to worldwide viewers

New York, September 3

Naomi Osaka stepped into the Arthur Ashe Stadium carrying a masks that learn “Elijah McClain” forward of her second-round US Open victory on Wednesday, harnessing tennis’ international enchantment in her struggle for racial justice.

The 22-year-old’s masks honoured McClain, the 23-year-old Black man who died after a violent encounter with Aurora, Colorado, cops in 2019.

“I think tennis – people watch it all around the world,” she mentioned in a televised interview after her match. “Things that we think (are) common names (are) probably not common overseas.”

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She had beforehand worn a masks honoring Breonna Taylor, a Black girl killed by cops who burst into her house in March, at her first-round match on Monday, and mentioned she had seven totally different masks together with her on the event.

“When I heard about his story it was very hurtful,” Osaka later informed reporters, when requested about McClain.

In a lawsuit filed final month in opposition to the town of Aurora and its police, McClain’s household alleged he was tackled by cops throughout an encounter regardless of presenting no bodily risk.

“I still don’t think his name is very put out there compared to, like, George Floyd or Breonna Taylor. For me, today was very special in the way that I wanted to represent him very well,” she mentioned.

The fourth-seeded Osaka, who has seen her platform develop together with her success on the court docket, despatched shockwaves by way of her sport when she introduced final week that she would forego her Western & Southern Open semifinal in protest of police brutality and racial injustice within the United States.

“I feel like the platform I have right now is something I used to take for granted,” she mentioned. Reuters

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