Naomi Osaka Had an Emotional Response to Messages of Thanks From Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery's Families

Naomi Osaka Had an Emotional Response to Messages of Thanks From Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery's Families
Naomi Osaka Had an Emotional Response to Messages of Thanks From Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery's Families
Starr Bowenbank
·3 mins read

From Cosmopolitan

  • Tennis player Naomi Osaka has been wearing face masks featuring the names of slain Black people during the U.S. Open.

  • After receiving kind messages from Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery's families, Naomi spoke with reporters.

IDK if you've noticed, but in light of police brutality in the United States, professional tennis player and Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has been wearing face masks during her matches that honor the lives of Black men and women who have been killed by police. So far, she's sported masks with the names of George Floyd, George McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, and Breonna Taylor.

After winning yesterday's U.S. Open match, Naomi was shown two videos from Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin's mother) and Marcus Arbery Sr. (Ahmaud Arbery's father) who thanked her for displaying their sons' names on her mask.

In response to their messages, Naomi said:

"It means a lot. I feel like — I don’t know. They’re so strong. I’m not sure what I would be able to do if I was in their position. But, I don’t know. I feel like I’m a vessel at this point, and in order to spread awareness, and hopefully — it’s not going to dull the pain, but hopefully I can, you know, help with anything that they need."

When speaking with a New York Times reporter post-interview, Naomi admitted to feeling incredibly emotional after hearing their kind words.

"Actually I was just trying really hard not to cry. For me it's a bit surreal. It's extremely touching that they would feel touched by what I'm doing. For me, I feel like what I've doing is nothing," she said, according to tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg. "It's a speck of what I could be doing. Yeah, it was really emotional. I feel like, I don't know, after I saw it, at first I was a bit in shock. Now that I'm here and I took the time, I'm really grateful and I'm really humbled."

Naomi continued the sentiment on Twitter and admitted that she often thinks about her impact.

"I often wonder if what I’m doing is resonating and reaching as many people as I hope. That being said, I tried to hold it in on set but after watching these back I cried so much," she wrote. "The strength and the character both of these parents have is beyond me. Love you both, thank you."

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