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The WNBA needs to force Kelly Loeffler out.
Loeffler is the co-owner of the Atlanta Dream. She’s also a U.S. Senator from Georgia, appointed to her seat last December.
What Loeffler has said publicly is at least as bad, if not worse, than what Donald Sterling said in a recorded conversation with his mistress — and Sterling was forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers.
It’s time for the WNBA to do the same with Loeffler.
In the past week alone, she was on Fox News implying that Black Americans do not have the same Constitutional rights as non-Black Americans, posted a video supporting the anti-LGBTQ Family Policy Alliance, and called the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Louisiana’s highly restrictive abortion law “an activist agenda.”
In case you’ve forgotten, the WNBA is a women’s league. A league where roughly two-thirds of the players are Black and a fair number are out as gay.
For a league that has so many women unafraid to take bold stances, to speak out for civil rights and justice, to trade seasons of their already-brief careers to be of service to others, how does the WNBA justify Loeffler’s continued ownership?
As of right now, we have no official word. We reached out to the WNBA for comment and haven’t gotten a response.
Let’s go back six years, when TMZ released the recording of Sterling speaking with V. Stiviano, angry that she was associating with Black people and posting photos to Instagram. Sterling even said he didn’t want Stiviano bringing Black friends to Clippers games — where, for the record, there were Black players playing for Sterling.
The recording was hardly Sterling’s first racist act, as he’d been sued multiple times previously for housing discrimination. Banning Sterling in April 2014 was Adam Silver’s first major move as NBA commissioner, a job he’d taken over just a couple of months earlier.
Now, during a month where the WNBA and other leagues are promoting Pride and giving their social-media avatars rainbow makeovers as a show of support to the LGBTQ community, Loeffler’s vocal anti-LGBTQ stance is damaging not just to the WNBA but to the queer women who play on the team she co-owns.
Same goes for her dog whistle statements on Fox News, which come as Americans of all races and ages and backgrounds continue to march together demanding an end to police brutality and recognizing that Black lives matter.
Discussing Black Atlanta protestors carrying long guns outside of the Wendy’s where police killed Rayshard Brooks earlier this month, Loeffler said, “This is totally unacceptable, we cannot allow mob rule. We are a nation of the rule of law.”
Open carry is legal in Georgia, and the Second Amendment to the Constitution covers all Americans, not just white ones. A scan of both of Loeffler’s Twitter accounts shows that she was silent last month as dozens of armed white protestors, upset over — gasp! — being told they had to wear a mask for the health and safety of others and couldn’t buy iced tea at their favorite restaurant, entered the Michigan state house or camo-wearing armed men marched through the streets of Raleigh in North Carolina.
But to Loeffler, a few Black citizens carrying their rifles publicly is “mob rule.” Interesting.
We’re not the only ones that noticed the difference. Veteran Dream standout Renee Montgomery, who recently announced she will sit out this season to focus on social justice work, saw Loeffler’s comments and tweeted, “The second amendment is part of the Bill of Rights. The problem some may be having is who is bearing the arms.”
In addition to Montgomery, Basketball Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes responded to a tweet asking why Loeffler is still allowed to own a team with “great question! WNBA MUST do better!!!” Her fellow Hall of Fame inductee, Alex English, who is also on the WNBA Players Association Board of Advocates, said Loeffler’s “mob rule” appearance was “a bad look for the Atlanta Dream and the WNBA... Donald Sterling vibes.” Fans of the league and the Dream are on social media declaring their disgust at Loeffler’s words, as well.
Over the past couple of years, the WNBA has followed its players’ lead and become the most progressive professional sports league in the country. It finally stopped trying to hide or deny there were gay women on its rosters, and has supported the work teams and players have done toward creating a more equitable country.
You can’t support Black lives and promote Pride month and then have a team co-owner who doesn’t believe in either, WNBA.
It’s time for Kelly Loeffler to go.
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