Washington Mystics General Manager Mike Thibault announced today that Natasha Cloud and LaToya Sanders have opted out of playing for the 2020 WNBA season.
“We respect and support Natasha’s decision to prioritize her life and goals,” stated Thibault. “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.”
Cloud, who helped lead the Mystics to their first WNBA title last season, has spent her entire five-year career with the franchise. She averaged a career-best 9.0 points per game and 5.6 assists per game in 2019. Originally selected in the second round (15th overall) of the 2015 WNBA Draft, Cloud is Washington’s all-time leader in assists (617).
“This has been one of the toughest decisions of my career but I will be foregoing the 2020 WNBA season,” stated Cloud. “There are a lot of factors that led to this decision, but the biggest one is 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 for social reform, because until Black lives matter, all lives can’t matter.”
Sanders averaged 6.1 points and 5.5 rebounds for the Mystics last season. The 6-3 forward joined the team in 2015 and has been an integral part of the team’s championship success. She has set numerous milestones with Washington, including recording 48 blocks in a season in 2015 (second in franchise history for the most blocks in a single season).
“We understand and respect LaToya’s decision and will miss her both on and off the court as we head towards the upcoming season,” added Thibault. “She has been a big part of our success over the last several years and we look forward to her continuing to contribute for us in 2021.”
In five seasons with Washington, Sanders has averaged 7.2 points and 5.9 rebounds in 89 total games.
“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,” said Sanders. “I wish my teammates and the entire Mystics family the best this season and I will continue to watch and support them.”