‘There are much more important matters at hand’: Naomi Osaka pulls out of her Western & Southern Open semi-final in New York as she joins US athletes and teams in protesting after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin
- Athletes and teams in the US are protesting against yet another police shooting
- Jacob Blake was shot in Wisconsin after attempting to break up a fight
- Naomi Osaka released a statement explaining that she would not be playing
Naomi Osaka has announced she is withdrawing from the Western & Southern Open in New York as athletes and teams in the US protest after black man Jacob Blake was shot by police.
The world No 10 said in a statement she had been scheduled to play in the tournament’s semi-final on Thursday.
Civil unrest has erupted once again in America, after Blake was shot seven times in the back by officer Rusten Sheskey, in front of his own children.
Naomi Osaka has pulled out of the Western & Southern Open semi-final she had qualified for
Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old father of six, was shot in the back seven times by a white police officer in front of of three of his young kids on Sunday
Blake is currently recovering in hospital, but his lawyers have suggested it will take ‘a miracle’ for him to walk again.
Explaining her decision, Osaka wrote: ‘However, 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.
‘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 hands of police is honestly making me sick to my stomach.’
The NBA play-offs have been postponed after the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their game
Players from the WNBA side Washington Mystics pose after their game was postponed
MLS matches were also called off, with Real Salt Lake and LA FC players standing in unity
MLB contests were also shelved on Wednesday night, including Giants against the Dodgers
There have been constant protests in Kenosha since the shooting took place on Sunday
Osaka’s decision comes as a list of major US sporting events were called off across the States, with athletes protesting against racial injustice following the police shooting in Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee Bucks made their point by boycotting their NBA play-off clash with Orlando Magic.
Both the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers have now voted to end the season with immediate effect.
Alongside the Bucks, two other NBA play-off games, three Major League Baseball matches, three WNBA fixtures and five Major League Soccer games were postponed after player-led actions in response to the shooting of African-American Blake and the civil unrest that has followed.
Inter Miami players walk off the pitch after it is confirmed their match will be postponed
Those MLS matches included that of David Beckham’s Inter Miami side, with their Atlanta United clash not going ahead.
Two people were shot dead during the unrrest, while federal officers and the national guard have been deployed to Kenosha.
Osaka was playing in the tournament as a warm-up for the US Open, which she won in 2018.
Osaka was taking part in the warm-up tournament ahead of US Open, which she won in 2018
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