The Women’s National Basketball Players Association called for Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Georgia Republican and co-owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, to be removed from the league after she wrote a letter to the commissioner opposing plans to recognize the Black Lives Matter movement.
The WNBA plans to have its players wear jerseys bearing the names of victims of police brutality or other alleged racial violence, including Breonna Taylor and Sandra Bland, as well as warm-up shirts with the phrases “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name” during the 2020 season played at IMG Academy in Florida.
“The truth is, we need less — not more politics in sports,” Ms. Loeffler wrote, per 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.”
The WNBPA’s Twitter account responded to the news with the words “E-N-O-U-G-H” and “O-U-T.”
E-N-O-U-G-H!— WNBPA (@TheWNBPA) July 7, 2020
Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud chimed in, saying, “We don’t want her.”
Other players have criticized Ms. Loeffler in recent weeks and called for her to be forced to sell her stake in the Dream. She faced blowback last month for calling Black citizens in Atlanta carrying guns at protests “mob rule,” warning the scene was a preview of what would happen if police departments were defunded.
Basketball Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes wrote that the WNBA “MUST do better” and Skylar Diggins-Smith tweeted that Ms. Loeffler has “gotta GO!”
Renee Montgomery - who plays for Atlanta - also responded to Ms. Loeffler’s message about armed protesters.
“The second amendment is a part of the Bill of Rights. The problem some may be having is who is bearing the arms,” she tweeted.
“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,” its statement read. “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.”
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