The Washington Mystics quest to repeat as 2020 WNBA Champions will have to be done without starting guard Natasha Cloud as she has announced via Instagram she will be forgoing the 2020 WNBA season.
The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have caused outrage around the world sparking protests advocating for justice for the victims and their grieving families. According to Cloud, this was her biggest reason for missing the 2020 season as she said this in her Instagram post announcement:
“I have a responsibility to myself, to my community, and to my future children to fight for something that is much bigger than myself and the game of basketball. I will instead, continue the fight on the front lines for social reform, because until black lives matter, all lives can’t matter.”
The Instagram post of Natasha Cloud’s announcement can be seen below:
View this post on Instagram
This has been one of the toughest decisions of my career. But, I will be foregoing the 2020 WNBA season. There’s a lot of factors that led to this decision, but the biggest being that I am more than an athlete. I have a responsibility to myself, to my community, and to my future children to fight for something that is much bigger than myself and the game of basketball. I will instead, continue the fight on the front lines for social reform, because until black lives matter, all lives can’t matter. #TogetherWeStand #BLM #illbeback #2021
Washington Mystics head coach Mike Thibault released a statement voicing his support for Natasha Cloud in her decision to sit out the 2020 WNBA season. He said the following,
“We respect and support Natasha’s decision to prioritize her life and goals. Her commitment to social justice issues is of utmost importance to her and, therefore, to the Mystics organization. We will continue to be partners with her and all of our players on their commitment to social justice reform as we go forward into this season and beyond.”
Natasha Cloud is not the only member of the Washington Mystics that has opted to sit out the 2020 WNBA season as Mystics veteran forward Latoya Sanders has also announced she will not be playing. In addition, Atlanta Dream guard Renee Montgomery and Connecticut Sun enter Jonquel Jones also announced they will not be playing in the 2020 WNBA season.
The WNBA plans to return around the same time as the NBA’s restart in late July at the IMG Academy in Brandenton, Florida where players will be housed, conduct training camps, and the regular season. The season will feature a 22-game regular season (normally 34 games in the regular season).
The WNBA has also put a plan together that will give players a platform to continue the fight for social justice as they have announced they will donate the from their “Bigger Than Ball” merchandise sales to Equal Justice Initiative.
WNBA Player Association President and Los Angeles Sparks forward Chiney Ogwumike had this to say about the WNBA’s plans to continue the fight for social justice reform,
“In our discussions with the league, we emphasized and they agreed that a strong commitment to a 2020 season will give the WNBA the chance to show the world that it’s taking the steps needed to secure our livelihood and well-being, while also providing the opportunity to amplify our collective voice. We have always been at the forefront of initiatives with strong support of #BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName, the LGBTQ+ community, gun control, voting rights, #MeToo, mental health and the list goes on. This is not only necessary from a humanitarian perspective, but it may be one of the biggest opportunities that this league has and will ever have.”
Only time will tell if more players decide to follow in the footsteps of Natasha Cloud and Latoya Sanders in sitting out the 2020 WNBA season.