HomeTennisNaomi Osaka’s face masks – Defining moments in the...

Naomi Osaka’s face masks – Defining moments in the history of sports

- Advertisement -

Naomi Osaka had a magnificent US Open as she defeated Victoria Azarenka in three sets to win her second title. It was a grand redemption for Osaka, who had not won a Grand Slam for close to two years. However, apart from the actions on the court, it was her actions off the court that has sparked interest. For each round of the US Open, Osaka wore different face masks that carried the name of a Black American.

The names were the symbol of the racial injustice that has been taking place in the United States. Every time she wore the face mask, it was to highlight the current ‘race war’ in the United States to a larger audience.

- Advertisement -
Naomi Osaka face mask at US Open 2020
(Credits: Twitter/Naomi Osaka)

During the entire US Open, the names Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Tamir Rice have grabbed the attention of the world. It was a shame that the coronavirus pandemic forced the US Open to be played behind closed doors without any audiences.

If there was a massive audience pressure, there would have been greater spread and awareness. However, for the millions who were watching on TV, Osaka’s statements every single time have provided a defining statement that has transcended sports.

Courageous and defining

Naomi Osaka face mask at US Open 2020
(Credits: Twitter/ Naomi Osaka)

When we talk about iconic sporting moments, the mind goes back to the Black Fist salute in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City by US athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos. This gesture by Osaka, who is black and also from a mixed heritage, is right up there.

There was an inkling of the statement that she would make in the US Open. Prior to the US Open, the Southern and Western tournament was postponed when Osaka led a protest along with the NBA players over the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

“Before I am a 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,”

Osaka said at that time.

After the US Open win, she stated, “I’m aware that tennis is watched all over the world, and maybe there is someone that doesn’t know Breonna Taylor’s story. Maybe they’ll like Google it or something. For me, just spreading awareness. I feel like the more people know the story, then the more interesting or interested they’ll become in it.”

Naomi Osaka face mask at US Open 2020
(Credits: Twitter/ Naomi Osaka)

That is the most important aspect. Talking about it. Getting aware of it. At least searching and knowing about the incident. Every story of police atrocity, every incident of a Black Individual being subject to horrors for trivial reasons. This is the reason why Osaka’s actions are symbolic.

Very few sporting individuals can go beyond the game and make a statement that is defining. Many sports operate in a bubble and sporting individuals are often too scared to go out of the bubble. Osaka has probably given the world something to think about. It is possible for a sports person to go beyond the sport and make a message for the broader good. However, in today’s turbulent times, getting a message through is very difficult. Osaka has at least tried that.

- Advertisement -

15 Highly Educated Cricketers Of All Time

Cricket is a game of passion and dedication. A sport in which one involves themselves in camps and practice since early childhood. Due to...

Do we often under-appreciate Andy Flower? What’s his legacy?

There's a hint of sadness in noting that Zimbabwe has never been a dominant power in world cricket. But nothing could be sadder than...

How Come UFC Fighters Have Cauliflower Ears But Boxers Don’t?

The UFC has come a long way since its early days, wherein the fights seemed like modern-day gladiators due to its brutality and inconsistent...

Why are more and more MotoGP riders using the Noson nasal dilator?

Introduction MotoGP riders or athletes are physically fit and healthy individuals and their muscles are continuously functioning and used during the performance. As a fan...

IPL 2018: The beautiful Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur

Being seated in the Sawai Mansingh stadium brings a different world, a world of difference away from the palpable excitement of watching truly India’s...

5 spinners who can be India’s potential finger-spinners

The Indian cricket team has always been proud of its ability to produce world-class batsmen and similarly potent spinners. Though in recent times, the...

The astonishing decline of Mario Balotelli

There was a time when Mario Balotelli was on top of the world.  The Italian talisman had scored two goals in the Euro 2012 semi-finals,...

Top 5 Left Wingers In The World, Based On 2019-20 Season

Owing to the fact that football has evolved a lot since its inception and the tactics have changed a lot, the role of wingers...

What can be expected from the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix?

Heat in the air and heat inside the car- that's been the story of the Azerbaijan Grand prix. As F1 parks itself at Baku...

How Suresh Raina Batted India Into The Finals of 2011 World Cup

Its been 9 years, since India won the Cricket World Cup defeating Sri Lanka on 2 April, 2011. The images and visuals of...

Big change for India Women’s cricket as BCCI looks to finalise bowling coach soon

We are not even at the halfway stage of the 2018 cricketing season. It clearly seems there's no stopping India's women's cricket team. The...

IPL 2018: The best from the West Indies

When one of nature's treacherous attacks on mankind- earthquakes- strike, their impact is measured on Richter's scale. When West Indians strike in a tournament...

Age Fraud in Indian Cricket: Are players really to be blamed?

There have been times while watching a cricket match when we tend to hear commentators comment on cricketers’ age. We as fans have many...

Southampton XI if they didn’t sell their star players

Southampton, a club located in the south coast of England, have one of the most renowned youth academies in the Premier League.  Despite producing class...

Ajax XI if they didn’t sell their star players

Based in Amsterdam, AFC Ajax, who incidentally draw their name from the legendary Greek hero of the same name, are the most successful club...

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -