General Manager and head coach Mike Thibault announced the Washington Mystics, 2019 defending champs, will be two players short this upcoming season as both Natasha Cloud and LaToya Sanders have opted out of playing in the 2020 season.
Thibault mentioned how much Sanders will be missed on and off the court and looks forward to seeing her again in 2021. Sanders cited that her health and family was the reason amid the COVID-19 pandemic that is still currently ongoing.
“This was not an easy choice to make, but after much thought and conversation I do believe it is what’s best for my health and family,” Sanders said. “I wish my teammates and the entire Mystics family the best this season and I will continue to watch and support them.”
Cloud made her announcement to not play via social media, Twitter and Instagram. She made note that focusing on social reform is more important and that’s where her time and energy will be invested. Thibault supports Cloud in her decision.
“We respect and support Natasha’s decision to prioritize her life and goals,” Thibault said. “Her commitment to social justice issues is of utmost importance to her and, therefore, to the Mystics organization. We will continue to be partners with her and all of our players on their commitment to social justice reform as we go forward into this season and beyond.”
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This has been one of the toughest decisions of my career. But, 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. I will instead, continue the fight on the front lines for social reform, because until black lives matter, all lives can’t matter. #TogetherWeStand #BLM #illbeback #2021
Other players from various teams have also decided to not play such as Atlanta Dream guard Renee Montgomery and Connecticut Sun center, Jonquel Jones. The 2020 WNBA season was previously postponed and now set to begin end of July in Florida.