Sen. Loeffler ‘Adamantly' Opposes WNBA Decision to Promote BLM

By Andrew Davenport | July 9, 2020 | 9:28am EDT
Washington Mystics WNBA player Natasha Cloud joins Washington Wizard NBA player Bradley Beal for a Juneteenth march and rally in Washington, DC, on June 19, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Washington Mystics WNBA player Natasha Cloud joins Washington Wizard NBA player Bradley Beal for a Juneteenth march and rally in Washington, DC, on June 19, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) has sent a letter to Women’s National Basketball Association Commissioner Cathy Engelbert, opposing the WNBA’s recent decision to promote Black Lives Matter.

The WNBA will feature the “Black Lives Matter” slogan on its courts and warm-up shirts.

Loeffler, a co-owner of the Atlanta Dream since 2011, alternatively proposed putting an American flag on every jersey as a symbol of unity.

In her letter, which was obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Loeffler addressed the Black Lives Matter Movement, saying:

The lives of each and every African American matter, and there’s no debating the fact that there is no place for racism in our country.

However, I adamantly oppose the Black Lives Matter political movement, which has advocated for the defunding of police, called for the removal of Jesus from churches and the disruption of the nuclear family structure, harbored anti-Semitic views, and promoted violence and destruction across the country.

I believe it is totally misaligned with the values and goals of the WNBA and the Atlanta Dream, where we support tolerance and inclusion.

Loeffler contrasted the Black Lives Matter’s support for lawless autonomous zones to their silence over the murder of an 8-year-old girl in Atlanta: “This is not a political movement that the league should be embracing, and I emphatically oppose it.” 

Loeffler emphasized her desire to keep politics out of sports:

“Sports are such a powerful, dynamic force in uniting communities across our great country. People from all walks of life are unified by a team, a game, a championship. Everyone wears the same uniform – even when they don’t share the same political views.”

The WNBA’s effort to promote social justice is an initiative called “The Justice Movement.” The initiative includes a “Social Justice Council” led by several players. One of the advisers to this council will be Alicia Garza, the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sen. Loeffler would prefer to see the American flag on every player’s jersey:

“Though I was not consulted about—nor do I agree with the League’s decision in this matter, I am proposing a common-sense recommendation to ensure we reflect the values of freedom and equality for all.

“I believe we should put an American flag on every jersey. Include it in our licensed apparel for players, coaches, and fans,” she said.

“Our flag has weathered countless storms, wars, and civil unrest. It symbolizes the strengths unique to our country and the American people. It stands for freedom, equality and hope. This important symbol will unite us as we work toward a better, brighter, and more equitable tomorrow,” she said.

Loeffler’s letter has received furious backlash. The WNBA players union responded on Twitter, calling for Loeffler’s removal as an owner, saying, “E-N-O-U-G-H! O-U-T!”

Renee Montgomery, a member of the Atlanta Dream who opted out of the 2020 season to focus on social justice, also commented on Twitter.

“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?” 

WNBA Commissioner Engelbert released a statement on the matter. 

“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.”

Below is the full letter from Senator Loeffler to Commissioner Engelbert. 

Dear Commissioner Engelbert:

When I purchased a stake in the Atlanta Dream nearly a decade ago, it really was a dream come true for me. Sports are such a powerful, dynamic force in uniting communities across our great country. People from all walks of life are unified by a team, a game, a championship. Everyone wears the same uniform – even when they don’t share the same political views.

I appreciate your hard work as the WNBA Commissioner, especially during these challenging moments, but I was incredibly disappointed to read about efforts to insert a political platform into the league. 

Players, coaches, and yes – team owners – share differing opinions on many issues. All of us have a constitutional right to hold and to express our views. But to subscribe to a particular political agenda undermines the potential of the sport and sends a message of exclusion.

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

The lives of each and every African American matter, and there’s no debating the fact that there is no place for racism in our country. However, I adamantly oppose the Black Lives Matter political movement, which has advocated for the defunding of police, called for the removal of Jesus from churches and the disruption of the nuclear family structure, harbored anti-Semitic views, and promoted violence and destruction across the country. I believe it is totally misaligned with the values and goals of the WNBA and the Atlanta Dream, where we support tolerance and inclusion. 

Amid the recent unrest in many American cities, this movement advocated the creation of lawless autonomous zones in places like Atlanta. I denounced these zones of violence—for which I have been criticized. However, this same group fell silent over the fourth of July weekend when an 8-year-old girl was murdered under the “mob rule” that I warned about days earlier. This is not a political movement that the league should be embracing, and I emphatically oppose it. 

Though I was not consulted about—nor do I agree with the League’s decision in this matter, I am proposing a common-sense recommendation to ensure we reflect the values of freedom and equality for all. I believe we should put an American flag on every jersey. Include it in our licensed apparel for players, coaches and fans. 

As our nation battles COVID-19, economic hardship, and the fight to ensure justice for all, we need a unifying rallying point for the American people. I sincerely hope you will consider my proposal. Because if we can’t acknowledge, much less unite behind our flag during this struggle, we’ll never achieve the goals we all want for each other.

Our flag has weathered countless storms, wars, and civil unrest. It symbolizes the strengths unique to our country and the American people. It stands for freedom, equality and hope. This important symbol will unite us as we work toward a better, brighter, and more equitable tomorrow.

Thank you in advance for your consideration in this important matter. I look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,
Kelly Loeffler

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