Washington Mystics’ Tina Charles medical exemption approved, pens Players’ Tribune piece on social change

Photo Credit: Lamar Carter

On the heels of reigning WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne’s medical opt-out request being denied (then the team announcing it would pay Delle Donne’s full salary), another noteworthy (and new) Washington Mystic will also not be bubble-bound for the 2020 season.

Tina Charles, who was acquired by the Mystics in a three-team trade in April that sent draft picks to both the New York Liberty and Dallas Wings, was granted a medical exemption for extrinsic asthma.

The 2020 season would have reunited Charles with Mike Thibault, who was her coach with the Connecticut Sun when she was first drafted into the WNBA in 2010.

The Mystics will also be sans Natasha Cloud (Black Lives Matter) and LaToya Sanders (health reasons).

Charles also wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune detailing not only how she felt about the 2020 season from a health standpoint, but also from the perspective of how the season will take place amidst a newfound awareness in the public at large to social justice issues.


It’s going to be an adjustment, not playing this year. For the last 10 years, I’ve never not gone into a season. But sitting out the season is what I’m prepared to do.

–Tina Charles, Washington Mystics (The Players’ Tribune)


But as someone who knows what it’s like to struggle for breath – as a person who knows the terror and powerlessness that goes along with gasping for air, and having no control over your breathing – I can tell you that what I’ve been seeing on the news has been all the more heartbreaking.

–Tina Charles, Washington Mystics (The Players’ Tribune)

Charles also announced in her Players’ Tribune piece that she will make donations of $846 to Black organizations and Black-owned businesses. The number is symbolic as it represents the eight minutes and 46 seconds that former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin had with his knee on the neck of George Floyd, leading to his death.


I truly believe that there is no path to change until we can acknowledge the ongoing trauma caused by slavery. The way it dehumanized African-Americans in the eyes of so many. Until we can acknowledge that that trauma is synonymous with the founding of this country, true change will be impossible. There needs to be restitution for what this government and the white founding fathers of this nation have done, and recognition that what we’ve been seeing is what happens when a nation does not acknowledge that the effects of its actions have perpetuated an unjust reality upon generations of African-Americans that is still at play today.

–Tina Charles, Washington Mystics (The Players’ Tribune)


I can see change happening in the present, but we cannot stop marching. There is still more work to be done. (We still need those officers arrested for killing Breonna Taylor and Byron Williams!) And we must continue using our voices to celebrate Black lives and support Black businesses. We need to see diversity across the board in all businesses.

–Tina Charles, Washington Mystics (The Players’ Tribune)


I plan on being a part of that change. I want to do all that I can.

–Tina Charles, Washington Mystics (The Players’ Tribune)

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