Home >Lounge >Features >Lewis Hamilton to Naomi Osaka, when sports met social justice in 2020
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 02: Naomi Osaka of Japan wears a mask with the name Elijah McClain on it following her Women’s Singles second round win against Camila Giorgi of Italy on Day Three of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 2, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. McClain was killed by police in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 02: Naomi Osaka of Japan wears a mask with the name Elijah McClain on it following her Women’s Singles second round win against Camila Giorgi of Italy on Day Three of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 2, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. McClain was killed by police in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton to Naomi Osaka, when sports met social justice in 2020

Athletes around the world continue their support for Black Lives Matter with strong statements on their apparel. Is it time Indian athletes raised their voices too?

Over the last few months, most of the biggest sporting leagues and athletes around the world have shown their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Some of these individual stars have not only taken a knee in support but also worn different phrases and statements on their clothing for the movement’s cause. Undeterred by the debate on whether sports, politics and social justice should be mixed, their voices only grow stronger.

Formula One F1 - Tuscan Grand Prix - Mugello, Scarperia e San Piero, Italy - September 13, 2020 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton wears a shirt in reference to Breonna Taylor on the podium as he celebrates after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini
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Formula One F1 - Tuscan Grand Prix - Mugello, Scarperia e San Piero, Italy - September 13, 2020 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton wears a shirt in reference to Breonna Taylor on the podium as he celebrates after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Lewis Hamilton — Formula One

The Mercedes driver has been a staunch supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. From his racing helmets to his car’s livery for the 2020 F1 season, Hamilton’s voice has been dominant. At last weekend’s Tuscan GP, the 35-year-old wore a black T-shirt in support of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old African-American emergency paramedic who was fatally shot at her home in Louisville, Kentucky, by three policemen.

Naomi Osaka — Tennis

The reigning US Open champion, who represents Japan, honoured seven victims of racial injustice by wearing seven different face masks with their names on it during the tournament. The 22-year-old’s win over Victoria Azarenka earlier this month reaffirmed her status as a star on the court, but Osaka tweeted on 16 September to show that she is not afraid to make a statement off the court either: “All the people that were telling me to ‘keep politics out of sports’ (which it wasn’t political at all), really inspired me to win."

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA - JUNE 10: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet, wears a 'I Can't Breathe - Black Lives Matter' t-shirt under his firesuit in solidarity with protesters around the world taking to the streets after the death of George Floyd on May 25, waits on the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on June 10, 2020 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
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MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA - JUNE 10: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet, wears a 'I Can't Breathe - Black Lives Matter' t-shirt under his firesuit in solidarity with protesters around the world taking to the streets after the death of George Floyd on May 25, waits on the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on June 10, 2020 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Bubba Wallace — Nascar racing

One of Nascar’s youngest stars, and its only full-time African American driver, raced with Black Lives Matter livery on his car in June, while wearing a black T-shirt with the words “I Can’t Breathe" printed on it. The 26-year-old, who currently races for Richard Petty Motorsports, was also in the spotlight when a noose was found in his garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway later that month, which led to a federal investigation on the issue.

ADERBORN, GERMANY - MAY 31: Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund celebrates scoring his teams second goal of the game with a 'Justice for George Floyd' shirt during the Bundesliga match between SC Paderborn 07 and Borussia Dortmund at Benteler Arena on May 31, 2020 in Paderborn, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
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ADERBORN, GERMANY - MAY 31: Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund celebrates scoring his teams second goal of the game with a 'Justice for George Floyd' shirt during the Bundesliga match between SC Paderborn 07 and Borussia Dortmund at Benteler Arena on May 31, 2020 in Paderborn, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Jadon Sancho—Football

The 20-year-old winger has made headlines this transfer window but he has also been vocal on the pitch while demanding justice for George Floyd, who was killed in Minneapolis during an arrest. In June, Sancho scored his first professional hat- trick. After scoring the first of his three goals against Paderborn in the German Bundesliga, the England international revealed his yellow undershirt, which carried the message “Justice for George Floyd".

ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 8: Phil Handy and LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers work out prior to a game against the Houston Rockets before Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs on September 8, 2020 at The AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 8: Phil Handy and LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers work out prior to a game against the Houston Rockets before Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs on September 8, 2020 at The AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

LeBron James—Basketball

In July, the Los Angeles Lakers power forward called Black Lives Matter “a lifestyle", not a movement, while demanding justice for Breonna Taylor. James has been an active supporter of the movement in recent years. In July, the NBA star said: “This is a walk of life. When you wake up and you’re Black, that is what it is. It shouldn’t be a movement—it should be a lifestyle. This is who we are."

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