Atlanta Dream players responded to the criticism of the WNBA’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement made by Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, a co-owner of the team.
The players posted a statement on social media Friday night, hours after Loeffler declared she had no intention of selling her ownership stake in the Dream.
“We are the women of the Atlanta Dream. We are women who support a movement. We are strong and we are fearless. We offer a voice to the voiceless,” the Dream posted on Twitter.
“Our team is united in the Movement for Black Lives. It is not extreme to demand change after centuries of inequality. This is not a political statement. This is a statement of humanity.”
The post included the signatures of all 12 members of the current team, as well as that of veteran guard Renee Montgomery, who opted out of the season in order to focus on social justice issues.
Loeffler reiterated many of the criticisms of the Black Lives Matter movement that she made throughout the week in an editorial published on the Daily Caller website on Friday. She has openly expressed her disagreement with the WNBA’s plan to display “Black Lives Matter” on the court in Florida and to honour women who have died in connection with police action or alleged racial violence.
Loeffler has co-owned the franchise since 2011 and is a junior U.S. senator from Georgia. The conservative Republican stirred controversy when she appeared on Fox News and termed Black armed protesters in Atlanta as “mob rule.” Georgia is an open carry state.
Loeffler urged WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert in a letter to scrap plans for players to wear warmup jerseys reading “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name” — in honour of Breonna Taylor — and instead put an American flag on all uniforms and apparel.
The WNBA issued a statement earlier in the week in regard to the situation.
“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 statement read. “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.”