Tennis Star Naomi Osaka Sports Trayvon Martin Face Mask at the U.S. Open

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Naomi Osaka

Many athletes are voicing support for the protests against racial injustice and against the police killings of unarmed Black men and women.

Professional tennis player Naomi Osaka has continued the trend. Osaka donned a mask bearing the name of Trayvon Martin ahead of her U.S. Open match against Anett Kontaveit over the weekend.

The 22-year-old tennis pro, who beat Kontaveit, has worn a different mask bearing the name of a victim of police violence–Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, and Martin–to every match at this year’s Open.

Osaka, the highest-paid female athlete ever, recently made headlines when she dropped out of the semifinals for the Western & Southern Open in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake by law enforcement officials in Wisconsin.

“Before 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.

“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,” she continued, while also calling out what she called the “continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police.”

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