WNBA players hit back at Atlanta Dream co-owner Loeffler

Past and present WNBA players are calling on the league to force out Senator Kelly Loeffler, a co-owner of the Atlanta Dream who has criticized the WNBA's plans to honor the Black Lives Matter movement in the upcoming season (AFP Photo/Win McNamee) (POOL/AFP/File)

Los Angeles (AFP) - Current and former WNBA players pushed back against Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler after the US senator from Georgia voiced opposition to league plans to honor the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Loeffler had urged WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert in a letter to scrap plans for players in the US women's basketball league to wear warmup jerseys reading "Black Lives Matter" and "Say Her Name" suggesting the apparel should bear the US flag instead.

"The truth is, we need less — not more politics in sports," the conservative Republican said.

"E-N-O-U-G-H! O-U-T!" the WNBA players' union tweeted in response to Loeffler's stance.

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert on Tuesday said that Loeffler, who co-owns the Dream with Mary Brock, does not, in fact, serve as governor of the team within the league.

"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," Engelbert said in a statement.

"Senator 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."

Past and present WNBA players had already been angered by Loeffler's recent appearance on Fox News in which she called armed black protesters in Atlanta "mob rule" although she is a vocal supporter of Second Amendment rights to bear arms.

The "mob rule" comment prompted former WNBA star and Olympic gold medalist Sheryl Swoopes to tweet that the "WNBA MUST do better."

Dream guard Renee Montgomery, who has opted out of the 2020 season to focus her time on social justice issues, tweeted of those comments: "The second amendment is a part of the Bill of Rights. The problem some may be having is who is bearing the arms."

Alysha Clark and Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm and Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Phoenix Mercury were also among players calling for the league to separate itself from Loeffler.

Clark retweeted a Yahoo.com column headlined "Why is Kelly Loeffler still a WNBA co-owner despite 'Donald Sterling vibes'?"

The column referenced former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was forced by the NBA to sell the team after racist comments he made in a personal conversation were made public.

"Kelly Loeffler's gotta GO! Period!" Diggins-Smith tweeted.