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We Must Discuss: “Folks need to battle for what’s proper and that is equality”

After an extended delay because of the coronavirus pandemic, it seems the 2020 WNBA season will happen later this summer season. The league not too long ago unveiled their plan to play a 22-game common season, adopted by a standard playoff format, at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. However whereas there might be basketball, it goes with out saying that this may not be a standard season.

Not solely has the pandemic shortened the season and necessitated all 12 groups coming collectively in a bubble atmosphere, however main names will not be participating. Between well being issues and a need to proceed preventing for social justice throughout a time of unprecedented protests, plenty of gamers have introduced they will not be touring to Florida. 

Here is a have a look at a few of the gamers who might be sitting out:

Natasha Cloud — G, Washington Mystics

Cloud helped the Mystics win their first title in franchise historical past final season, however she will not be part of the group’s quest for a repeat. On Monday, June 22, Cloud introduced on social media that she’ll be sitting out the 2020 season with the intention to proceed preventing for social justice. 

“There’s loads of elements that led to this determination,” Cloud mentioned on Instagram. “However the largest being that I’m greater than an athlete. I’ve a accountability to myself, to my group, and to my future youngsters to battle for one thing that’s a lot greater than myself and the sport of basketball. I’ll as a substitute, proceed the battle on the entrance strains for social reform, as a result of till black lives matter, all lives cannot matter.”

Tiffany Hayes — G, Atlanta Dream

Hayes is the second member of the Dream to determine to not play this summer season, becoming a member of her backcourt companion Renee Montgomery. That duo’s absence will go away loads of alternatives for the Dream’s new acquisitions, Courtney Williams and Chennedy Carter. Hayes did not particularly cite a purpose, however famous that with “all the things that is happening proper now” she determined it was finest to not play. 

“After a lot thought and consideration, I’ve determined to decide out of the 2020 season,” Hayes wrote on Instagram. “This was not a simple determination however I imagine it’s in my finest curiosity with all the things that is happening proper now. Though I really like enjoying this recreation, I imagine there are rather more vital issues to be occupied with on this second. Many is not going to agree with my determination however I do know in my coronary heart it is the suitable one.”

Jonquel Jones — F/C, Connecticut Solar

Jones completed in third place within the MVP voting final season, as she helped lead the Solar to the Finals for the primary time since 2005. It is unlikely we’ll see the Solar again within the Finals once more this season, as Jones determined to decide out of going to Florida due to issues concerning the coronavirus. 

“After cautious thought and consideration, I’ve determined to forego the upcoming WNBA season and use this time to deal with private, social and familial development,” Jones mentioned on Instagram. “This was one of many hardest choices I’ve made however the resurgence and unknown points of COVID-19 have raised critical well being issues that I don’t really feel snug competing in.”

Renee Montgomery — G, Atlanta Dream

The Dream struggled by one of many worst seasons in franchise historical past, however there may be loads of pleasure about their group transferring ahead with the arrival of Chennedy Carter and Courtney Williams within the offseason. That duo should step up in a significant manner, as veteran guard Renee Montgomery opted to deal with social justice as a substitute of basketball. 

“After a lot thought, I’ve determined to decide out of the 2020 WNBA season,” Montgomery mentioned. “There’s work to be completed off the court docket in so many areas in our group. Social justice reform is not going to occur in a single day, however I do really feel that now’s the time and moments equal momentum. Let’s hold it going!”

Chiney Ogwumike — F/C, Los Angeles Sparks

The Ogwumike sisters had been reunited final season, when the Sparks traded for Chiney from the Solar. Nonetheless, we’ll have to attend till 2021 to see the duo on the court docket collectively once more, as Chiney has introduced her intentions to take a seat out the upcoming season. She’s missed two total seasons with accidents to this point in her profession, and didn’t really feel snug enjoying given the condensed scheduled and coaching camp. 

“If me, that I’ve overcome a few of the largest challenges an athlete can face on the court docket,” Ogwumike mentioned. “My earlier accidents have given me power and constructed character, however sadly they require me to watch out with my preparation main as much as a season. This 12 months is unprecedented in some ways, subsequently my group and I’ve come to the choice to be proactively cautious and put my physique first.”

LaToya Sanders — F/C, Washington Mystics

Although typically missed on a star-studded group, Sanders was a vital a part of the Mystics’ title run final season. However like Cloud, she will not be round as they attempt to repeat in 2020. Sanders, who’s anemic, determined to not play as a consequence of well being issues surrounding the coronavirus. 

“This was not a simple option to make, however after a lot thought and dialog I do imagine it’s what’s finest for my well being and household,” Sanders mentioned in a press release. “I want my teammates and your complete Mystics household the most effective this season and I’ll proceed to observe and help them.”

Kristi Toliver — G, Los Angeles Sparks

After serving to the Mystics win the title final season, Toliver in opposition to going for a repeat, selected as a substitute to return to Los Angeles, signing a three-year take care of the Sparks in free company. Her second stint with the group will not come till 2021, nevertheless, as she’ll be sitting out as a consequence of issues concerning the coronavirus. 

“Although I need very a lot to compete with my group, to be a pacesetter and present up for them, I’m not snug with the chance to my bodily well being – short-term and long-term – given the numerous unknowns of COVID-19 and the chance of harm,” Toliver mentioned in a press release on the group’s web site. “For me, the suitable determination below the circumstances is to opt-out for the 12 months.”

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