Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler, known more widely as a U.S. senator from Georgia, sparked another round of criticism from her league on Tuesday when she suggested the WNBA put American flags on warmup jerseys instead of “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name.”
In a letter to commissioner Cathy Engelbert, Loeffler criticized the WNBA’s current plan as “a message of exclusion.”
“The truth is, we need less — not more politics in sports,” Loeffler wrote, apparently not realizing the irony of a team-owning senator complaining about politics in sports. “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 reaction was firm, with the WNBPA calling for Loeffler’s ouster. The WNBA itself released a statement saying it will continue using its platform for social justice and noting Loeffler is no longer involved in her team’s day-to-day business.
Los Angeles Sparks star Candace Parker echoed the call to oust Loeffler in an interview with TNT, saying there is no place in the league for the senator.
There is no place in the league, there is no place in the WNBA, a league that is the majority minority. I’ve said this a number of times, this is a league that is 80 percent African-American women. We talk about socioeconomic background, gender, women, Black, talk about sexual orientation. There is no place in this league.
I think we’ve had a number of people that have stepped forward and listened, and have taken initiative and taken action, and we’ve had those that haven’t and continue to make comments and show why we’re still in this situation. So I think a number of players in our league have expressed that there’s no place in the league for her.
Former NBA All-Star and current TNT analyst Baron Davis went as far as offering to buy out Loeffler’s interest in the team on Twitter.
I will buy her interest !! She gotta go. https://t.co/IZYPcj26xd— Baron Davis (@BaronDavis) July 8, 2020
Loeffler has seen calls from many of the WNBA’s biggest stars — including Skylar Diggins-Smith, Natasha Cloud and Sue Bird — to be removed from the league over the last month, though she has bigger things to worry about at her other job.
After being appointed to her Senate seat by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Loeffler is running in a close special election to assume the seat for the remaining two years of retired Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term. She has previously faced significant criticism for selling off millions of dollars worth of stocks following a briefing on the coronavirus in January.
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