The Washington Mystics are still supposed to be on Cloud Nine after winning their first WNBA championship in 2019. Instead, its players, like many around the country, are fighting not just the spread of coronavirus, but racial injustice in the U.S.
Natasha Cloud, the Mystics guard who earned 2019 All-Defensive honors, has come to the defense of black and brown people who have been unfairly targeted and victimized by white police officers and white supremacists. On Saturday, Cloud published an essay on The Players’ Tribune titled “Your Silence is a Knee on my Neck” — a reference to the way George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, was killed while being arrested by a white police officer, Derek Chauvin.
Cloud’s narrative wasn’t just Black Lives Matter. Cloud made it a point to call out all the people who are not saying anything, “the so-called ‘neutral’ people out there,” as the 28-year-old put it.
“I’m writing this because I have a platform,” Cloud, who said she had planned her Players’ Tribune essay to be about the upcoming WNBA season, wrote. “It may not be the biggest platform in the world….. but it’s bigger than a lot of people have. It’s what I’ve got. And the only thing I feel like using that platform for right now is to send a message to the so-called ‘neutral’ people out there.
“It’s to tell them that we’re changing up the definitions of some of these words they’ve been hiding behind. It’s to tell them that ‘seeing both sides’ means having blood on their hands — and ‘opting out’ means leaving innocent people to die. It’s to tell them that neutrality about black lives might as well be murder. It’s to tell them that their silence is the knee on George Floyd’s neck.
“If you’re silent, I don’t f —- with you, period.”
Protests calling for justice for Floyd, who died on Monday, in Minneapolis have gone on for five days. Demonstrations both peaceful and violent have also started in many other major cities around the country, including Washington, Los Angeles, Atlanta and right here in the Big Apple.
Athletes from every sport have showed support for the George Floyd and the countless others who became victims of police brutality — including one of the highest profile WNBA players, fellow Mystics champion Elena Delle Donne.
“What’s really going to move the needle here is everyone getting involved — and by that I mean all athletes. Because there’s no room for any of that silence or ‘neutrality’ in the athlete community either,” Cloud wrote. “Those old excuses about not wanting to lose sponsorships, or not wanting to alienate certain types of fans, or how “racists buy sneakers too” or whatever?? We don’t have time for that. Not when lives are being lost.”
Many have traveled to the front lines of protests or used whatever platform they had to discuss the larger problem of racism: Celtics’ Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to Atlanta to participate in demonstrations; ex-Knick J.R. Smith marched with protesters in Los Angeles; Liberty’s Amanda Zahui B. went on Instagram and for 13 straight minutes, poured her heart out about racism and the heartlessness of police brutality.
“We need to meet this moment with accountability, and solidarity, and leadership,” Cloud wrote. “And I know it can be done."
©2020 New York Daily News
Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.