Kelly Loeffler Doesn't Think Supporting Black Lives Matter Is Good for the WNBA, An 88-Percent Black League

Illustration for article titled Kelly Loeffler Doesnt Think Supporting Black Lives Matter Is Good for the WNBA, An 88-Percent Black League
Image: Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)

Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler, staunch defender of the Second Amendment (for white people) and part-owner of WNBA team the Atlanta Dream, is not a fan of the WNBA’s plan to acknowledge that Black Lives Matter movement when their season starts this month. The WNBA players’ association announced on Monday that teams will be wearing warm-up shirts that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name,” and will be putting the names of victims of police violence on their jerseys, according to the Los Angeles Times. They will also create a social justice council and start a platform called The Justice Movement, reports the Times, which will “amplify players’ voices.”

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Eighty-eight percent of the WNBA is comprised of Black players, according to a report by Swish Appeal. Loeffler, who owns a minority stake in the Atlanta Dream, feels that aligning with Black Lives Matter and displaying the names of those killed by police violence is just a little bit too much. Instead, she posits, a better idea would be to place the American flag on every player’s jersey as a show of unity.

Loeffler voiced her displeasure in a letter to league commissioner Cathy Engelbert, acquired by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, stating that “now more than ever, we should be united in our goal to remove politics from sports.” Loeffler, a politician, has repeatedly refused to remove herself from sports, despite requests from fans that she sell her share of the team. Loeffler also included her views on the Black Lives Matter movement, most of which have no basis in fact.

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.

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Loeffler ended her letter with an impassioned plea about the American flag that will likely score her points with the White House, but also come off as the rantings of someone who has attempted and maybe even succeeding in having a sexual experience with an American flag:

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.

While this is the first time the entire WNBA has collectively taken action as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s not the first time they’ve come under fire for speaking out. The WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx wore shirts that read, “Change Starts With Us: Justice and Accountability,” following the killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in 2016. Political protest has always been inextricably linked with sports, and sports journalists should get a raise every time they have to explain that fact to anyone.

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DISCUSSION

I laughed when I read Loeffler’s suggestion about the player uniforms having an American flag on them as a symbol of unity. I stared at the screen slackjawed when I read her assertion that the BLM wants to remove Jesus from chuch as... What? I blanked out again from confusion just writing it here.