Sen. Kelly Loeffler, co-owner of Atlanta Dream, objects to WNBA’s social justice plans

July 8, 2020

Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler, a Republican U.S. Senator running for reelection in Georgia, is not happy with the WNBA’s plans to honor the Black Lives Matter movement.

Loeffler sent a letter to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert, asking her to forget about the plans for players to wear warmup jerseys with “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name.” Instead, she asked for all uniforms and apparel to have the American flag on it.

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“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. “And now more than ever, we should be united in our goal to remove politics from sports.”

A co-owner of the Dream since 2011, Loeffler said that she wasn’t consulted about the league’s new social justice policy.

Engelbert issued a statement in response to Loeffler in a statement.

“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,” the commissioner said. “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.”

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The WNBA players union put out a tweet Tuesday saying “E-N-O-U-G-H! O-U-T!” in response.

The league announced on Monday that players would wear special uniforms during the opening weekend that had Breonna Taylor’s name on the back of them.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician, was shot eight times by plainclothes Louisville police officers serving a narcotics search warrant on March 13. No drugs were found. Her family and protesters around the country have called for swift action against the officers who shot Taylor.

The league is considering ways to recognize other women who have died because of alleged police brutality or racial violence — including Vanessa Guillen and Sandra Bland.

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The jersey idea was first publicly put forth by Las Vegas Aces forward Angel McCoughtry, who starred for the Dream before signing with Las Vegas in the offseason. Players have the option to just wear the uniforms opening weekend or throughout the season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.