On Friday, professional athletes from various leagues around North America wore orange in support of National Gun Violence Awareness Day. In a video compilation circulated by Everytown for Gun Safety, WNBA champion Natasha Cloud, MLS winger Alejandro Bedoya, U.S. ice hockey player Hilary Knight and more spoke about the increasing need for gun control in the U.S.
— Everytown (@Everytown) June 5, 2020
“Gun violence devastates so many families and neighborhoods and disproportionately affects communities of color,” Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said in the video.
One of the NBA’s most politically outspoken coaches, Kerr has repeatedly advocated for stricter gun control laws over the years. When Kerr was an 18-year-old college freshman, his own father, Malcolm Kerr, assassinated by gun violence because he was the president of the American University of Beirut. In 2018, Kerr called gun control a “public health issue.” At a press conference before Game 2 of the 2019 NBA Finals three days after the Virginia Beach mass shooting, Kerr wore a black t-shirt with the words, “Vote for our lives,” and spoke about the March For Our Lives movement.
In the video, Kerr said he wants tighter regulation around guns “because kids all over this country deserve to go to school and feel safe.”
“I wear orange because domestic abusers shouldn’t have access to guns,” said Cloud, guard for the Washington Mystics.
Cloud has made it her life’s mission to fight against gun violence. As the only child with a black biological father in her family of five children, the 28-year-old grew up in what she calls a “gray-area,” not quite realizing she was black until she was older. Since coming into the WNBA in 2015, Cloud, who is biracial and bisexual, has been a part of a politically vocal Mystics team and she became increasingly comfortable with the idea of using her platform for good.
“This community has become part of me. It was time for me to step and use my platform — my God-given platform — for something greater,” Cloud told ESPN’s The Undefeated in September.
Cloud has met with policymakers, gun violence survivors and activists to home games and and volunteered with her teammates at a local DC elementary school that was shot at twice in two weeks last summer. Following the second shooting, the Mystics guard held a media blackout in which she would only address questions from the media regarding gun violence reform.
“God gave me a platform… If I see something wrong and I don’t speak up, I’m doing a disservice to others.” – Natasha Cloud
— WNBA (@WNBA) June 5, 2020
Many players in the video also spoke about family members they had lost due to gun violence.
“Today, I wear orange to honor my best friend, Branden, and also to be an example to the youth, to motivate and to inspire,” said Tim Anderson, shortstop for the Chicago White Sox.
“To represent for my late sister Taiesha Watkins,” said NFL running back DeAndre Washington. “She was murdered two years ago due to senseless gun violence.
“In honor of my father, who was killed in 2010 to a senseless act of gun violence in his place of business,” Diontae Spencer, wide receiver for the Denver Broncos, said.
“To honor my cousin Jojo, who was shot and killed seven years ago,” two-time WNBA champion Devereaux Peters said.
Other women’s basketball players, including Mystics forward Tianna Hawkins, Lynx rookie Crystal Dangerfield and ESPN analyst and women’s basketball hall of famer Rebecca Lobo also took to Twitter to post their support using the #WearOrange hashtag.