One of the WNBA's most outspoken players is not planning for a quiet retirement.
Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud told reporters Thursday she plans to enter politics when her basketball career is over, two days after the mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.
Cloud cited her frustration with the current lack of action on issues such as gun control, women's rights and systemic racism, also noting the mass shooting at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo.
— Kareem Copeland (@kareemcopeland) May 26, 2022
“We’re out here preparing for Connecticut, and yes, it’s our jobs, we get paid to do this, but how do you even talk about that with what’s going on in our country? This isn't even gun control, this is women's rights. This is the LGBTQ+ community. This is systemic racism. This is our prison reforms that still haven't happened. This is the foundation of America. I'm so tired of us pointing the finger at all these different countries and being like 'They suck, they suck, we're superior.' We are trash. We are actual trash.
“It’s frustrating. It really, really is. We could do everything that we can. We can utilize our platforms. We can do marches. We can try to educate people. But, if our representatives don’t do their jobs, if they don’t fulfill their oaths that they took to serve their communities, to not line their pockets, to not worry about their own power, what can we do? When you have corrupt-ass individuals in those positions of power, what do you do?
“It’s at a point now where after my career, I will go into politics because I’m tired of it. I’m tired of it being a political game. These are people’s lives. We’re constantly worrying about power, money and all this other s*** that doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter. We’re talking about lives. We’re talking about 10-, nine-, eight-, seven-, six-, five-year-old kids. We’re talking about elderly folks just trying to go grab groceries in the only grocery store in their community, because why? It’s a lower economic community. It’s a Black community. This was a minority school, for the most part. Took the police 90 minutes to get inside that school, it's a f***ing joke.
Those comments came after Cloud, a Pennsylvania native who has spent her entire pro career in Washington, led a Mystics media blackout after a win over the Atlanta Dream on Tuesday to draw attention to gun violence.
The 30-year-old Cloud previously sat out the 2020 WNBA season to focus on social justice reform following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minnesota. A WNBA champion in 2019 with the Mystics, Cloud returned last season and is currently averaging a career-high 11.7 points and 6.8 assists per game.
She also called out white players on the Washington Capitals and Washington Nationals to use their platform for change, though it's probably worth noting many of those athletes aren't exactly going to agree with Cloud on most issues.
Natasha Cloud asks for the Capitals and the Nationals to step up and use their platform.
"It's time that our white counterparts also step up. It's not just us Black athletes that need to step up and use our voice." pic.twitter.com/SJBLVmoEYg
— Tyler Byrum (@theTylerByrum) May 26, 2022
Cloud is one of many voices to speak out for gun reform following the Uvalde shooting, particularly in basketball. In addition to the WNBA's usual industry-leading activism, the Miami Heat went as far as telling their fans to call their local representatives to advocate for gun control while Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr blasted Republican lawmakers for blocking a background check bill.