WNBA players showed up to games wearing shirts supporting the political opponent of the Atlanta Dream’s co-owner, Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
The Georgia Republican sparked backlash after opposing the WNBA’s affiliation with Black Lives Matter, the New York Post reported.
Loeffler sent a public letter in July to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert that criticized the league’s support for Black Lives Matter and suggested putting American flags on each player’s jersey.
“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,” Loeffler wrote.
“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,” she added.
In response to the letter, the WNBA Players Association demanded that Loeffler be removed, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, a demand that Engelbert denied.
WNBA players then showed up to games wearing shirts that said “Black Lives Matter” and “Vote Warnock” in support of Rev. Raphael Warnock, Loeffler’s Democratic challenger.
— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) August 4, 2020
Don’t boo…VOTE ?
— Chicago Sky (@chicagosky) August 4, 2020
“I am honored and humbled by the overwhelming support from the @WNBA players,” Warnock tweeted Tuesday evening.
I am honored and humbled by the overwhelming support from the @WNBA players. This movement gives us the opportunity to fight for what we believe in, and I stand by all athletes promoting social justice on and off the court. #BlackLivesMatter
— Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) August 4, 2020
Loeffler responded in a statement, writing, “This is just more proof that the out of control cancel culture wants to shut out anyone who disagrees with them.”
“It’s clear that the league is more concerned with playing politics than basketball, and I stand by what I wrote in June,” she added.
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