'So insensitive': Aussie great slammed over 'appalling' Naomi Osaka question

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Rennae Stubbs asks Naomi Osaka (pictured right) a question after her US Open match.
Rennae Stubbs was slammed for her line of questioning regarding Naomi Osaka's (pictured right) masks at the US Open. (Getty Images)

Aussie tennis great-turned commentator Rennae Stubbs has been called out for an “appalling” question regarding Naomi Osaka’s Black Lives Matter protest at the US Open.

Osaka played powerful tennis to defeat Shelby Rogers in straight sets and return to the US Open semi-finals on Tuesday.

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Fourth-seeded Osaka's sharp serving and superior return game was on show as she accounted for unseeded American Rogers 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 20 minutes as she bids to regain the title she won in 2018.

But one of the biggest talking points to Osaka’s run is the masks she has been wearing in support of Black Lives Matter.

Osaka has worn the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin when entering or exiting the court in the last few weeks.

On Wednesday, Osaka walked onto court wearing a mask bearing the name of George Floyd, the black man whose death at the hands of police sparked anti-racism protests across the world.

This prompted Stubbs to tell the tennis star she was “trying to guess what name is going to be on the masks every single day” and asked for a clue on what name she would wear next.

Osaka responded claiming “it was a feeling” when she chose the mask.

But the question was labelled “appalling” and “insensitive” on social media.

Stubbs defends Naomi Osaka interview

But Stubbs defended her interview and claimed she “meant well” and was hoping to raise awareness.

“Of course i meant well, the parents of these victims are so thankful that Naomi is doing this,” Stubbs wrote after the backlash.

“We even have them on video talking about it. I think the victims would love to know we are NOT FORGETTING THIER NAMES! I would never disparage them! If u know me u would know that.”

The US Open later showed footage of Trayvon Martin’s mother and Ahmaud Arbery’s father, two of the names she has worn on her masks, thank Osaka for her unwavering support.

Osaka admitted she was overwhelmed with emotion when watching the videos back after she exited the arena.

“I often wonder if what I’m doing is resonating and reaching as many people as I hope,” she wrote on Twitter.

“That being said, I tried to hold it in on set but after watching these back I cried so much. The strength and the character both of these parents have is beyond me. Love you both, thank you.”

With AAP