Sen Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), who is co-owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, is doubling down on her disdain of the Black Lives Matter movement, insisting that somehow politics do not belong in sports.
Despite the calls for conversation and the increasing demands that Loeffler be removed from her position as co-owner, the Republican has remained unfazed, doubling down on her stance on Black Lives Matter during an interview with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham.
“Sports have tremendous power to unite us,” Loeffler told Ingraham. “The WNBA has embraced the Black Lives Matter political organization. This is a very divisive organization based on Marxist principles.
“This week [BLM] threatened to burn the system down literally and figuratively if they don’t get what they want. This is an organization that seeks to destroy American principles and I had to draw the line,” she added while urging to “unite behind the American flag.”
Loeffler, who has co-owned the Dream since 2011, drew ire earlier this week when she wrote a letter to Commissioner Caty Englebert warning her that promoting a “particular political agenda undermines the potential of the sport and sends a message of exclusion,” as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes.
“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, who is up for a special election in November, added.
The backlash was swift and immediate, with the WNBA Players’ Association calling on Englebert to remove Loeffler as co-owner.
Englebert released a statement emphasizing that Loeffler played no part in the day-to-day operations of the team, although she is still co-owner.
“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,” Englebert reaffirmed in the statement, USA Today reports. “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.”
Dream guard Renee Montgomery, who back in June decided to opt out of the 2020 WNBA season to focus on social justice reform, called out Loeffler on social media, inviting her to have a conversation about the issue.