Natasha Cloud was the first WNBA player this season to enter COVID-19 health and safety protocols, and she didn’t hold back when attacking the league on Twitter.
Cloud entered the league’s protocols on Tuesday morning, and was ruled out of the Washington Mystics’ 89-76 win over the Las Vegas Aces.
While it’s unclear when Cloud actually contracted the coronavirus, she’s clearly blaming the WNBA’s travel policy — mainly their use of commercial planes and a lack of a mask mandate.
“Shoutout to the WNBA for flying us commercial during a pandemic,” she wrote, in part.
It’s unknown how long Cloud will be sidelined, or if she’s experiencing symptoms.
Cloud averaged 8.7 points and 6.4 assists last season, her sixth with the Mystics. She dropped 17 points in their season-opening win at home against the Indiana Fever on Friday, and then put up 19 points with six assists and six rebounds in their win over the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday.
Traveling to or from the game at the Target Center in Minneapolis, she hinted at, is where she contracted the coronavirus.
Chartered flights have been a huge issue in the WNBA in recent years. Currently, the WNBA has all teams flying commercial throughout the season, which frequently creates problematic travel conditions.
Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in March that it would cost more than $20 million each season to charter flights for the entire league, which she doesn’t think the WNBA can handle.
“This is something that we’re not going to jeopardize the financial health of the league and be irresponsible about,” she said in March. “If we can get it funded by sponsors and supporters, great, but that’s not where we are. We do not have that.”
New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai, however, said last year that he’s been working with Engelbert to do just that. He also reportedly paid to fly the Liberty on private planes late last season — something the WNBA fined them $500,000 for and reportedly considered removing them from the league altogether.
Though that gave the Liberty an unfair advantage, players across the league didn’t take news of the fine well.
Clearly, players haven’t let the chartered flights issue go — especially with the coronavirus pandemic still impacting the league.