Tennis star Naomi Osaka is the latest sports star to join a wave of strike action as American athletes protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Blake was shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, situated in the midwestern state of Wisconsin, who arrived on the scene after he reportedly broke up an argument between two women.
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Protests have erupted in the city where the shooting took place, with the Wisconsin-based Milwaukee Bucks refusing to take the floor for their playoff game against the Orland Magic on Thursday morning (AEST).
All other NBA games scheduled for Thursday were postponed as a result of the Bucks’ protest, which garnered widespread support among the remaining teams in the league’s bubble and outside.
Osaka took to Twitter to announce she would be withdrawing from her upcoming semi-final at the Western & Southern Open to join in the protests.
The 22-year-old said she was mindful of her voice as one of tennis’ few black athletes.
“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 posted on Twitter.
“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 hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach."
Osaka protest follows NBA playoff strike
The Milwaukee Bucks did not take the floor for Wednesday’s playoff game against the Orlando Magic and are striking in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake.
All of Wednesday’s NBA games have since been postponed.
The Magic initially took the court for pregame warmups, but left after Bucks players didn’t show up.
After the game was postponed, the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder planned to walk out on their Wednesday evening matchup according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers had discussions to do the same for their Wednesday night Game 5, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.
The NBA later announced the postponement of all three games scheduled for Wednesday.
“The NBA and the NBPA today announced that in light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the floor today for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, today’s three games – MIL-ORL, HOU-OKC and LAL-POR have been postponed,” a joint statement from the NBA and NBPA reads. “Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled.”
Video surfaced late Sunday of police in Kenosha, Wisconsin shooting Blake in the back multiple times, leaving him paralysed from the waist down, according to his father.
Some players were hesitant to participate in the NBA restart, wary of taking focus off the nation’s race reckoning in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police. The shooting of Blake has renewed those concerns.
Bucks players attempted to reach Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul from their locker room on Wednesday, according to The Athletic. The Magic, meanwhile, declined to accept a forfeit of Wednesday’s game, according to the report.
With Yahoo Sports US