Cloud's emotional reaction to Texas school shooting originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Washington Mystics organization held another media blackout following the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, to discuss gun violence and to stress their pleas for government action.
As she normally does, guard Natasha Cloud was the voice of the team, speaking on behalf of her teammates after Washington's 70-50 win over the Atlanta Dream on Tuesday night in Washington.
"Today we're going to do a media blackout," Cloud said following the contest. "I think that you are all aware of what is happening, what happened in Texas, what happened in Buffalo not even a week and a half ago. We have an issue in this country, not only white supremacy, we also have a gun violence issue. And this is us using our platform."
An 18-year-old gunman opened fire on Tuesday, killing 19 children in their last week of school before the summer break. Two adults were also killed, with many more injured. It was the deadliest school shooting since a gunman killed 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., 10 years ago.
On May 15, there was a separate shooting in Buffalo, NY where 10 Black people were killed at a supermarket. City and federal officials called the shooting a racially motivated hate crime.
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"This game doesn't matter," Cloud continued. "The  lives that were lost today from senseless gun violence in Texas, at an elementary school - we're talking about our kids not being safe to go to school and our government is still not implementing sensible gun laws. This isn't about taking people's rights away from bearing arms. This is about putting sensible gun laws in so this doesn't happen again."
Cloud was direct in her comments asking society not to continue to make the same mistakes that allow these horrific incidents to happen. She claims nothing is being done at the legislative level because of money and for profit. She asked those who are tired of these shootings happening to write to local and federal representatives.
This is not the first time the Mystics have held a media blackout. For the fourth straight season, the team has dedicated at least one media availability to discussing societal issues in the United States.
During the team's championship season in 2019, a stray bullet broke a window at Hendley Elementary in Southeast D.C. - less than two miles from the team's arena and practice facility. No students or teachers were hurt in the shooting, but in the subsequent game the players refused to answer basketball questions.
While holding the blackout, speaking for the team, Cloud asked the D.C. government to adequately respond and create a solution. Cloud's own blackout extended beyond just the one game and further into the season.
Another media blackout took place following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wis., in 2020. The team took an even more drastic step by boycotting the game held on the evening of the shooting and wore white t-shirts that spelled out his name with seven bullet holes painted on them. Other teams inside the WNBA's COVID-19 bubble in Bradenton, Fla. felt similarly and led the WNBA to postpone all contests for two days.
Cloud sat out that 2020 season to focus on her own activism and not be distracted by basketball. Mystics teammate Ariel Atkins stepped forward to be the voice of the team during that time.
Over the course of her seven-year career, Cloud has become a leading face in the WNBA for her activism and does not shy away from speaking on social issues. She has addressed racial discrimination, police violence, police reform, abortion issues, advocacy for women along with gun violence.
"To the families in Texas, the Mystics are sending our love, our prayers. We pray for y'all today, we will continue to pray for you and we will continue to fight for you and we will fight for everyone in this country," Cloud said.