One year to the day after George Floyd's death, Washington Mystics players Natasha Cloud and Ariel Atkins dedicated their Tuesday media availability to discussing social justice and police reform.
The Mystics secured a 85-69 win over the Indiana Fever. Atkins tallied 18 points and four assists while Cloud posted three points and a game-high seven assists in the win.
After the game, both players declined to discuss their performances.
Ariel Atkins calls attention to police reform bill in Congress
Atkins told media she would only take questions about Floyd and asked reporters to discuss the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, a police reform bill that passed the House of Representatives but has stalled in the Senate.
President Joe Biden set a May 25 deadline to pass the bill that was not met on Tuesday as members of Congress debate a provision to end qualified immunity, a doctrine that shields police officers and other government officials from some civil lawsuits over the actions taken while on duty. Critics see the doctrine as a barrier to police accountability.
Cloud declined to take questions at all, and instead read from a prepared statement.
Natasha Cloud lays out specific steps for police reform
"What I'm gonna do is not talk about the game because the focus still needs to be on social reform and social justice especially for Black and Brown communities and discriminatory policing toward Black and Brown communities," Cloud said.
She then read a list of specific reforms that she would like to see implemented at different levels of government to protect the lives of minorities.
"We need to ban choke holds and other restrictive maneuvers," Cloud continued. "We need to end qualified immunity for all government actors. Don't back down. Keep raising your voice. Tell Congress we need better accountability, policies to meaningfully address rampant systemic racism in policing.
"Ban racial and religious profiling. Prohibit no-knock warrants. Breonna Taylor, say her name. Mandate a federal standard that use of force only be used when necessary. De-militarize our police. Develop a national public database of police misconduct. Strengthen the federal government's ability to hold officers accountable for rights violations while on duty."
Nothing new for WNBA
Cloud's and Atkins' statements on Tuesday continued an ongoing effort in the WNBA for social justice and police accountability. The league dedicated its 2020 season to the memory of Taylor, who was shot and killed in her own apartment by Louisville police serving a no-knock warrant.
WNBA players have repeatedly called for justice in other instances of deadly police violence and openly called for the ouster of former Atlanta Dream co-owner and ex-U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler, a vocal critic of Black Lives Matter.
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