According to published reports, WNBA players are calling for Senator and Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler to step down after she called the Black armed protesters who gathered at the headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan in response to public threats against Black Americans, a “mob rule” during an interview with FOX News-despite open carry being legal in the state of Georgia.
Veteran WNBA superstar Sheryl Swoopes chimed on the comment calling for the women’s league to “do better,” before several current players including Alysha Clark, Sue Bird, Natasha Cloud, and Skylar Diggins-Smith joined the call for change.
Atlanta Dream player Renee Montgomery took her complaint one step further by actually taking it to Loeller directly on Twitter calling her out for not supporting the movement that she sacrificed the current season for.
Dear @SenatorLoeffler …. I’m pretty sad to see that my team ownership is not supportive of the movement & all that it stands for,” Montgomery wrote. “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?”
In addition to her negative remarks about protesters, the Senator who is up for re-election has reportedly been opposed to the WNBA’s encouragement of silent protest that allowing players to wear protest messaging on their practice jerseys before each game during the season.
After the league announced the change, Loeffler reportedly wrote a letter to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert urging her to scrap plans for players to wear warmup jerseys reading “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name” and instead put an American flag on all uniforms and apparel.
“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 said. “And now more than ever, we should be united in our goal to remove politics from sports.”
While the WNBA is standing firm on their decision to support players and the advocacy of Black Lives Matter, the organization did release a statement on behalf of Commissioner Englebert indirectly denouncing Loeller’s comments, before adding that she hasn’t served as an active owner in almost a year.
“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.”