The WNBA is embracing its role in the current anti-racist political movement, but one team owner says that politics can and should be removed from sports.
Georgia Republican Senator and Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler is against the WNBA’s plans to support the Black Lives Matter movement, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Loeffler wants less politics in sports
Loeffler reportedly wrote a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert on Tuesday, asking her to put American flags on warmup jerseys instead of “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name.” The reason? Loeffler wrote that supporting a “particular political agenda undermines the potential of the sport and sends a message of exclusion.”
“The truth is, we need less — not more politics in sports,” Loeffler wrote, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “In a time when polarizing politics is as divisive as ever, sports has the power to be a unifying antidote. And now more than ever, we should be united in our goal to remove politics from sports.”
WNBA players call for Loeffler’s removal
A handful of current and former WNBA players have publicly called for the league to remove Loeffler as Dream co-owner.
After Loeffler, a supporter of the Second Amendment, said that armed Black protesters in Atlanta were practicing “mob rule,” Dream guard Renee Montgomery pointed out that Loeffler’s Second Amendment support goes only so far.
— Renee Montgomery (@itsreneem_) June 26, 2020
Montgomery was soon joined by legendary former WNBA player Sheryl Swoopes.
— Sheryl Swoopes (@airswoopes22) June 26, 2020
Support built from there, with Sue Bird, Natasha Cloud, Skylar Diggins-Smith, and Alysha Clark chiming in.
Why is Kelly Loeffler still a WNBA co-owner despite 'Donald Sterling vibes'? https://t.co/LnZ6sgpYit
— Alysha Clark (@Alysha_Clark) July 3, 2020
— Skylar Diggins-Smith (@SkyDigg4) July 4, 2020
Loeffler is currently running in a special election to decide who should serve the remaining two years of Johnny Isakson’s term. Isakson resigned in December 2019, and Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler to serve in his place until the election. The WNBA had not made any public statements about Loeffler’s appointment or her recent comments until Tuesday, when it released a statement on behalf of Commissioner Engelbert.
WNBA statement on U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler pic.twitter.com/9QdanNeRsl
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) July 7, 2020
The WNBPA tweeted their support for Loeffler’s ouster on Tuesday afternoon.
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