Named Forbes’ highest paid female athlete in 2020, Osaka is the daughter of a Haitian father and Japanese mother and, like the members of the Courage, used her platform prominently in 2020 in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“My investment in the North Carolina Courage is far beyond just being a team owner, it’s an investment in amazing women who are role models and leaders in their fields and inspirations to all young female athletes,” added Osaka.
The 23-year-old is the first investor in the Courage since owner Steve Malik acquired and relocated the team to North Carolina in 2017.
The Courage most recently won the NSWL championship in 2019.
Courage owner Malik praised Osaka’s social activism upon her arrival.
‘It just felt instinctive’
With sport one of the few live events that people could still watch on TV during 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the protests athletes made in the wake of George Floyd’s death and Jacob Blake’s shooting were viewed far and wide.
The protest that she organized — wearing seven masks with seven names of Black victims of alleged police or racist violence in the US — caught many people by surprise given her self-professed “reserved” nature.
But from Breonna Taylor in her first round-match against Misaki Doi to Tamir Rice in the final against Victoria Azarenka, each name resonated around the world, and highlighted to Osaka the impact she could potentially make.
“I never really knew the size and scope my voice might have when I set out. It was just raw emotion and deciphering wrong from right. It was not a political statement, and it was not for me, or about me. It was for others,” she wrote.
“A humanitarian stance. It may have caught some by surprise as I am known to be quite reserved, but this had been burning inside me for some time. When I received the messages from the families of victims at the US Open, it moved me to tears.
“What it shows is that we as athletes do have a voice and I won’t back down from using mine where I believe it is appropriate. Not everyone will like it but I sleep at night having faith in the fact that I am on the right side of history.”