Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who has co-owned the Atlanta Dream, a WNBA’s franchise since 2011, is coming under criticism from the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) after writing a letter saying the league should not go forward with a plan to put the names of Black victims of police violence on players’ jerseys.
In a letter to the WNBA commissioner, Loeffler wrote that there should be less politics in sports and that the league should not go forward with its plan to express solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
“The truth is, we need less—not more politics in sports. In a time when polarizing politics is as divisive as ever, sports has the power to be a unifying antidote,” Loeffler wrote to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “And now more than ever, we should be united in our goal to remove politics from sports.”
The WNBA recently announced that players will wear warmup jerseys that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name,” a reference to Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT who was killed by police in her own home in Louisville, Ky., in March.
Instead of the warmup jerseys showing support for Black Lives Matter, Loeffler suggested that they feature an American flag.
She added that the WNBA’s current plan would be subscribing to a “particular political agenda” and will send a “message of exclusion.”
Her letter drew swift backlash on Tuesday, with the WNBPA tweeting, “E-N-O-U-G-H! O-U-T!”
— WNBPA (@TheWNBPA) July 7, 2020
Engelbert also pushed back on Loeffler, saying in a statement released by 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.”
“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,” Engelbert added.