Senate

Sen. Loeffler opposes WNBA Black Lives Matter plan

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) 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, who faces a challenging reelection race this fall, 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.”

Loeffler has co-owned the Atlanta Dream, a WNBA’s franchise, since 2011.

The WNBA has 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 — a national movement that has seen widespread momentum following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the end of May — 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, first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, drew swift backlash on Tuesday, with the WNBPA tweeting, “E-N-O-U-G-H! O-U-T!”

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.

Loeffler was appointed to her seat in December by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) to replace former Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who resigned from the Senate for health reasons. Loeffler and Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) are facing off in a special election this fall to determine who will win the seat.

President Trump had recommended to Kemp late last year that he appoint Collins to fill the Senate seat, but the governor chose Loeffler instead, emphasizing her business credentials and outsider status as reasons for her appointment.

Tags Atlanta Dream Black Lives Matter Breonna Taylor killing Donald Trump Doug Collins George Floyd killing Georgia Georgia Senate race 2020 Johnny Isakson Kelly Loeffler say her name WNBA WNBA

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