Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R., Ga.) said Wednesday that the WNBA is trying to "cancel" her for her stance against the league's promotion of the Black Lives Matter movement.
"Sports are about unifying people," she said after a campaign event in Woodstock, Ga. "People from all walks of life, from all political views, should be welcome in sports, and to cancel someone because they want to protect innocent life, because they're fighting for the unborn, because they support the Second Amendment. … That should be a tenet of sports is to welcome all views."
Players balked after Loeffler, a co-owner of the Atlanta Dream, urged the league not to follow through on plans to display "Black Lives Matter" and "Say Her Name" slogans on jerseys or courts when league play resumes. In a letter to commissioner Cathy Engelbert, Loeffler said the Black Lives Matter political movement was antithetical to the league's values.
"E-N-O-U-G-H! O-U-T!" the WNBA players association tweeted out.
— WNBPA (@TheWNBPA) July 7, 2020
"We are surprised that she would want to be a part of this league given her feelings, so we would love for her to not represent us anymore because what she stands for is not a part of our league," New York Liberty player Layshia Clarendon told CNN on Wednesday. "I think people have been asking the question of why would she own a WNBA team if she believes black lives don't matter."
Loeffler was appointed in January by Georgia governor Brian Kemp (R.) and is running in a special jungle election for her seat. A wealthy businesswoman with no prior political experience, Loeffler has strongly aligned herself with President Donald Trump while in office.
Her leading Democratic opponent, Rev. Raphael Warnock, told CBS46 Tuesday that Loeffler's stance on Black Lives Matter was "dead wrong."
Loeffler distinguished between the left-wing political organization and the mantra "Black Lives Matter" in her letter to Engelbert.
"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," she 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."
Loeffler said there should be less, not more, politics in sports. She called for an American flag to be displayed on jerseys instead.
The WNBA distanced itself from Loeffler in a statement on Tuesday.
"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," the league wrote. "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."