Washington Mystics' star Natasha Cloud may not be with the team in the WNBA bubble in Bradenton, Fla, but her impact on the organization was felt on Wednesday night.
The Mystics boycotted their scheduled game against the Atlanta Dream in the emotional aftermath following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times by police officers in the back as he was trying to enter his vehicle.
Their boycott led the WNBA to postpone all scheduled games for Wednesday evening. It was a boycott that came following a decision among the teams involved to play.
For the team standing together and making their decision, Cloud - who opted out of the season to fight for social change - was proud of what they did.
"As athletes whether we like it or not we inherit this responsibility to use our platforms and be a voice for the voiceless. Especially when the leadership in this country isn’t doing it for us," Cloud said on Instagram. "This team is special. Our family is special. Proud of y’all for stepping up and standing your ground. When we take those jerseys off WE ARE BLACK and because of that we are not valued and our lives are constantly threatened. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. You don’t get to sit and watch sports and ignore what’s happening in this country. You don’t get to be entertained by black men and women on the court/field, and then NOT care what happens to us and our families off those surfaces. HEAR US, SEE US, FEEL US WHEN WE SAY WE ARE TIRED."
The team also wore white t-shirts that spelled out 'Jacob Blake' with seven marks on the back to signify the bullets police officers fired at him. It was a move that head coach Mike Thibault and the team wanted to be "startling."
Ariel Atkins said that when the team was in the locker room making the final decision to play or not, they spoke to some players that were not in the bubble.
Cloud has been the most vocal member of the Mystics organization since she joined the team. She held and led a media blackout in 2019 to advocate against gun violence in D.C. neighborhoods. This season she forfeited all of her WNBA salary to continue the fight against racism and to push for social change.
The NBA also postponed all of its playoff games on Wednesday evening as well as several MLB and MLS games.