Naomi Osaka Drops Out of Tennis Tournament to Protest Police Shootings

Naomi Osaka, the world’s highest-paid female athlete, has chosen to drop out of Thursday’s Western & Southern Open in New York in protest of the “continued genocide of Black people,” according to CNN. She said there are “more important” matters today than watching her compete, according to ESPN.

“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,” Osaka said in a tweet. “Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach. I’m exhausted of having a new hashtag pop up every few days and I’m extremely tired of having this same conversation over and over again. When will it ever be enough?”

Osaka ended with the hashtags, Jacob Blake, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and George Floyd. Osaka, who lives in Los Angeles, also joined protesters in Minneapolis in the days following the killing of George Floyd.

After her tweet, U.S. Open officials announced there would be no matches on Thursday, but they are expected to resume on Friday. Osaka’s announcement came after the Wednesday postponement of NBA, MLB, MLS, and WNBA games following Sunday’s police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He is now paralyzed from the waist down. There have also been widespread protests as a result of the shooting. Billie Jean King said Osaka’s move is “brave and impactful.”