The WNBA is set to start its season later this month, as the teams have arrived at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida — where the conditions are, per videos from the bubble, less than ideal. Once games start, players will wear uniforms with Breonna Taylor’s name, as well as warmups that say Black Lives Matter and Say Her Name, continuing to spotlight the killing of Taylor and other women by police brutality.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Kelly Loeffler, a co-owner of the Atlanta Dream and appointed United States Senator from Georgia, opposed that idea.
U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler objected to the WNBA’s plans to honor the Black Lives Matter movement, warning Tuesday that subscribing to a “particular political agenda undermines the potential of the sport and sends a message of exclusion.”
Loeffler called for everyone to be “united” and to “remove politics from sports,” which only further illustrates how badly (and purposefully) she is missing the point of the Black Lives Matter movement. Calling for an end to police brutality and racism shouldn’t be a political issue — insisting it is political only further evidences what side Loeffler falls on with regards to race, and as such, there’s a push from within the WNBA by the players association for her to be removed as an owner in a league that is predominantly Black.
Dear @SenatorLoeffler ….
I’m pretty sad to see that my team ownership is not supportive of the movement & all that it stands for. I was already sitting out this season & this is an example of why. I would love to have a conversation with you about the matter if you’re down?
— Renee Montgomery (@itsreneem_) July 7, 2020
How is she still a owner? Bye Kelly. Keep that negative energy out of our league. https://t.co/S9s8yhiC0z
— Breanna Stewart (@breannastewart) July 7, 2020
Kelly, No. Black lives matter. Period.
— Sue Bird (@S10Bird) July 7, 2020
I can’t believe I ever stepped foot in Kelly’s house and shared a meal with her. It’s actually really hurtful to see her true colors. I had no idea while I played for ATL she felt this way. Happy to own us as long as we stay quiet and perform 🤬👀 https://t.co/97jTbmuHda
— Layshia Clarendon (@Layshiac) July 7, 2020
second, THIS IS A *WOMENS* LEAGUE THAT HAS 80% *BLACK* PLAYERS.
— Natalie Achonwa (@NatAchon) July 7, 2020
Let me be clear: we don’t give a damn what you think @KLoeffler. Cut all ties with the league, stop giving your bigoted opinions about black affairs, & tend to ur insider trading sweetheart 💅🏾 https://t.co/KYZHUlrvXU
— Sydney Colson (@SydJColson) July 7, 2020
We don’t want her.
— Natasha Cloud (@T_Cloud4) July 7, 2020
Loeffler, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate last year by Georgia governor Brian Kemp to replace Johnny Isakson and made headlines earlier this year when she and her husband sold $20 million in stock following a closed-door meeting on COVID-19 in February, will face her first election later this fall in November, and has clearly chosen to stake her opposition to Black Lives Matter as a campaign point. The WNBA quickly issued a statement, noting that Loeffler was “no longer involved in the day-to-day business” of the Dream since being appointed to the Senate in October 2019.
Her status as active or not likely won’t be relevant to players if there are any ties between Loeffler and the Dream, even as the WNBA clearly looks to distance themselves from Loeffler. Without completely removing her from any post as a co-owner of the Dream, this issue will remain and illustrates a broader problem the NBA and WNBA face with regards to making public, grand statements about supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and their players while some of those in ownership positions support and donate to candidates (like Loeffler) that vehemently oppose that movement and would prefer to maintain the status quo that assists in them keeping their immense wealth and power.