‘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
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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 number 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
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 people is honestly making me sick to my stomach.’
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
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 of Blake in Wisconsin.
Three 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.
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