Players call on WNBA to remove Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler
Conservative Republican opposes league recognizing Black Lives Matter
Players are pushing for the WNBA to remove Kelly Loeffler as co-owner of the Atlanta Dream.
Loeffler has co-owned the franchise since 2011 and is a junior U.S. senator from Georgia. The conservative Republican Loeffler stirred controversy when she appeared on Fox News and termed Black armed protesters in Atlanta as "mob rule." Georgia is an open carry state.
Then Tuesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Loeffler formally opposed the social issue push within the WNBA to recognize the Black Lives Matter movement because it "undermines the potential of the sport and sends a message of exclusion."
Loeffler urged commissioner Cathy Engelbert in a letter to scrap plans for players to wear warmup jerseys reading "Black Lives Matter" and "Say Her Name" — in honour of Breonna Taylor — and instead put an American flag on all uniforms and apparel.
"The truth is, we need less-not more politics in sports. In a time when polarizing politics is as divisive as ever, sports has the power to be a unifying antidote," Loeffler wrote in the letter. "And now more than ever, we should be united in our goal to remove politics from sports."
The following was released by the WNBA: <a href="https://t.co/wH6ZmyDDcx">pic.twitter.com/wH6ZmyDDcx</a>—@WNBA
Loeffler faces a November special election against 20 other candidates.
"The WNBA is based on the principle of equal and fair treatment of all people and we, along with the teams and players, will continue to use our platforms to vigorously advocate for social justice," the league said in a statement. "Sen. Kelly Loeffler has not served as a Governor of the Atlanta Dream since October 2019 and is no longer involved in the day-to-day business of the team."
'Get her weak ass out of our league'
Loeffler also posted thoughts from an anti-LGBT group, Family Project Alliance of Georgia, arguing transgender athletes should not be allowed to participate in girls' and women's sports.
Former WNBA player Sheryl Swoopes replied to that comment via Twitter saying "The WNBA must do better."
In March, Loeffler was implicated for potential insider trading when she sold stocks in companies vulnerable to the coronavirus after several closed-door Senate briefings. The Justice Department closed her case in May and cleared her of any wrongdoing.
Natasha Cloud of the Washington Mystics followed with her own statement via Twitter: "Get her weak ass out of our league."
Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm, who is in a serious relationship with women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe, wrote that she's asking "herself the same question" when Alysha Clark posed the question: "Why is Kelly Loeffler still a WNBA co-owner despite 'Donald Sterling vibes'?"
Sterling was banned for life from the NBA and forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers after secret recordings of his racist comments were released publicly.