On Tuesday, the WNBA Players’ Association called for the removal of Kelly Loeffler as co-owner of the Atlanta Dream. The group addressed WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert in their statement.
Kelly Loeffler has owned the Atlanta Dream since 2011 and has come under recent fire after rejecting the league’s initiative in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
The WNBA planned to put messages of support like “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name” on athletes’ jerseys at the restart of the season. “Say Her Name” refers to the recent murder of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.
But, Kelly Loeffler has opposed the new measure and urged commissioner Cathy Engelbert to put American flags on jerseys instead. Loeffler suggested that promoting these “divisive political” movements overshadows the sport. Her argument revolved around the idea that there were already enough politics involved in sport.
Later on Tuesday afternoon, team owner Kelly Loeffler then retweeted a link to the published story and added her own comment to the post. She, once again, called for the WNBA to come together around the U.S. flag, rather than the Black Lives Matter movement. The WNBPA’s response to the article was much different, as they commented “E-N-O-U-G-H! O-U-T!”.
WNBA Commissioner Engelbert later released a statement claiming Loeffler would no longer be involved in day-to-day team operations. She has not yet been removed as an owner.
The statement emphasized the league’s stance on equal and fair treatment for their athletes and teams. The WNBA hopes to continue to use their platform to advocate for social justice initiatives.
This Isn’t the First Time
Renee Montgomery, Atlanta Dream guard, has decided to opt out of the upcoming season to focus on social justice advocacy. Montgomery has been one of the few players to speak publicly about the co-owner.
Her response to the news was apparent in a tweet posted on Tuesday afternoon to Renee’s Twitter account. She was disappointed to know her team’s ownership was not supporting a movement she so heavily advocates for.
Renee was able to utilize this moment of injustice as an example of why she originally chose to sit out this season. She even called on Loeffler and asked to have a private conversation with her if she [Loeffler] was interested.
Loeffler is not only the Atlanta Dream co-owner, but a Republican senator from Georgia, as well. She recently appeared on Fox News and called black protestors that were armed with assault rifles “mob rule,” although she has been adamant in her support of the Second Amendment.
Senator Loeffler has also expressed her support for an anti-LGBTQ+ group, claiming transgender athletes should not be allowed to participate in girls’ or women’s sports. These events have only intensified the WNBA players’ request for her removal.
Last March, Sen. Loeffler was implicated for alleged insider trading. She seemed to have sold stocks in companies that were potentially vulnerable to COVID-19. In May, however, the Justice Department cleared her of any wrongdoing and closed her case.
It is unknown, as of now, whether her removal from the team’s ownership will come quickly or at all.