Iconic sneaker brand Converse is stepping up big time for this WNBA player on its team.
Washington Mystics star Natasha Cloud made the bold decision to forgo the 2020 WNBA season if the league does decide to follow in the NBA’s footsteps. Pro Football Talk is reporting Converse, which is owned by Nike since 2003, announced it will pay her salary and will aid Cloud in her continued fight for social justice reform.
In an Instagram post and statement to NBC 4 Washington, Cloud explained why she decided not to play this year stating:
“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.”
The WNBA does allow its players to skip seasons without penalty except for missing out pay. Cloud, who was due to earn $117,000 this season (which is disgustingly low, and another issue in itself) does not qualify to be paid because she is not considered to be at risk of experiencing severe complications if she contracts COVID-19.
In a separate statement, Converse detailed its decision to pay Cloud, saying it has “immense respect” for her while acknowledging that her decision demonstrated “integrity and strength.”
“Converse has immense respect for Natasha Cloud’s decision to forgo the WNBA season. These systemic racial justice issues are bigger than basketball. To be able to put her career and passion on hold in order to devote her energy, voice, and platform to change demonstrates her integrity and strength. We are proud to have her on the Converse team, are humbled to match her forfeited player’s salary, and look forward to working together with Natasha on these issues as well as supporting her vision in this space.”
Cloud isn’t the only WNBA superstar who made the bold decision to step away from the game during their primes to focus on social justice matters. Eight-year Minnesota Lynx forward and champion, Maya Moore announced back in January that she would not be playing for a second straight season to focus on criminal justice reform and the release of Jonathan Irons. Moore believes he is innocent of the crime he was sent to prison for. Irons is serving a 50-year sentence after being convicted of burglary and assaulting a homeowner with a gun.
We salute these ladies for putting their careers on hold and Converse for making sure Cloud is sound financially.
Photo: Tom Williams / Getty