Mystics guard Natasha Cloud penned a powerful personal essay in The Players Tribune published Saturday, calling for individuals, particularly athletes, to not be silent on issues of race.
In the essay, she asks fellow athletes to stand up with her to call out racism without politely opting out of the conversation. Athletes, as she notes, have the power to help influence and change behavior. They have the "ability to really change things."
Her essay is following the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd, who died after a police officer put his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes. His death has sparked outrage and civil unrest in the community and in several other cities across the country.
Cloud says that she is tried of herself fearing for her life and for other black people for fearing for their lives and the systems that uphold white supremacy.
That’s what’s so scary about it to me. That’s what’s so crazy about it, and so frustrating. And if I’m being honest, that’s what pisses me off. Because it’s like — those racist cops who keep killing us? There’s way too many of them, that’s for sure. But we’re going to keep on speaking out, keep on shining a light at their behavior….. and eventually we’re going to get them the hell out of the paint. Relatively speaking, that one’s easy. But you know what’s not as easy?? You know what’s harder to shine a light on? The millions of people who are helping to protect those racist cops, and who are helping to insulate those in power, by staying “neutral.” That right there is what’s exhausting to me. It’s all the people who think that — in 2020!! — they can still somehow just politely opt out of this [expletive].
In her essay, Cloud also highlighted the response from Mystics teammate Elena Delle Donne in an Instagram Story in the immediate aftermath of Floyd's death. Since, Delle Donne has posted Nike's new campaign "Don't Do It" which calls out racism on her accounts as well.
"I saw Elena’s post, and I was just like….. Ahhh, I [expletive] KNEW my teammate would have my back. I knew it. And that felt so good. That’s the MVP of our league, one of the most famous white basketball players alive, and now everyone is seeing how real she is. How she didn’t hesitate — she got in there. And it was like, even that ONE post on its own, it took just a little bit of the weight off my shoulders. It made me feel just a little less powerless in this world," Cloud said.
In the past Cloud has spoken out against gun violence in DC, holding a "media blackout" to address gun reform in D.C. Since arriving in the WNBA she has been a huge vocal leader of her community and measures her success by her impact.