James Blake may be retired as a tennis star, but he continues to carve out a career as the Miami Open tournament director, a multifaceted personality, and an intersectional thought leader in the pro game.
He knows a few things about being profiled as an African American—about standing in public while black. In 2015, as the US Open was nigh in New York, he was aggressively tackled by a police officer, handcuffed, and held for 15 minutes before a release on grounds of mistaken identity. The cop, James Frascatore, sued for defamation; Blake never received an apology from him, despite the officer’s four previous infractions for similar incidents, all involving black men.
Blake made Jimmy Fallon’s late-night show a forum for racial justice and equity this past week. He engaged with the TV host at length on this matter—that Black Lives Matter—and offering at one point his admiration of the movement, glad “to see that the protests happened so quickly, so genuinely, and they got results.”