Back in July, the WNBA tipped-off a new season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the NBA, the WNBA took place in a bubble down in Florida. With everything going on around the United States of America, players have been concerned about returning to the floor to play a game. Therefore, opting out of playing was an option.
Washington Mystics star Natasha Cloud decided to sit the season out this past summer, but it wasn't out of fear of potentially contracting COVID-19. Instead, Cloud embarked on a bigger, more important mission, which goes beyond basketball. The fight against social injustice, racism, and police brutality in America has been at the focal point of both women and men's professional basketball over the last six months or so.
Hearing the devastating stories about Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and seeing the nearly nine-minute viral clip of George Floyd fighting for his life as a Minneapolis Police Officer kneeled on his neck during an arrest was enough to for Cloud to forego her 2020 WNBA season and fight for something bigger.
"This has been one of the toughest decisions of my career," Cloud wrote on Instagram back in June. "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."
At this point, the WNBA has concluded its 2020 run -- but Cloud's fight is far from over. As a part of the mission, Cloud has recently teamed up with Red Bull, Converse, and the Philadelphia-based retailer P's & Q's to create a T-Shirt encouraging fans to vote in this year's presidential election, which takes place on November 3, 2020.
Proceeds generated from the $40 T-Shirt, which is for sale at P's & Q's official website, will go to 'When We All Vote,' a nonprofit organization that has a mission to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap. For the next couple of weeks, as the election approaches, Cloud will continue to encourage everybody to use their voices and keep the conversation going about what's really important in America.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_