Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who is a co-owner of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream, has been outspoken regarding how she feels about the Black Lives Matter movement. She recently asked the league to make sure players don't put messages of social activism on their warm-up shirts. But despite push back from the league and players -- including some on the Dream --Loeffler has every intention of remaining on board as a co-owner.
"They can't push me out for my views. I intend to own the team. I am not going," she told ESPN on Tuesday.
In Loeffler latest comments about the WNBA's support of the Black Lives Matter movement, she expressed fears that it may alienate fans.
"I think a lot of people feel that they may not have a place," she said. "They may feel excluded from this sport and other sports that make them feel like American values aren't at the core of what we're doing here."
Loeffler wrote a letter to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert earlier in July, denouncing the league's association with Black Lives Matter and suggested she'd prefer that players wear an American flag patch on their jerseys instead of giving players the freedom to make social statements on them.
The WNBA responded by releasing a statement explaining that Loeffler is "no longer involved in the day-to-day business" of the Dream and that she "has not served as a Governor of the Atlanta Dream" since October 2019.
The senator's problem with the movement, Loeffler explained to ESPN, is that she believes there is a major difference between the organization "Black Lives Matter" and the statement "Black Lives Matter."
"The statement, 'Black lives matter,' is very different than the organization Black Lives Matter. I think we all agree the life of every African American is important," she said. "There's no room for racism in this country, and we have to root it out where it exists. But there's a political organization called Black Lives Matter that I think is very important to make the distinction between their aim and where we are as a country at this moment."
She continued, saying that she thinks, "The Black Lives Matter political organization advocates things like defunding and abolishing the police, abolishing our military, emptying our prisons, destroying the nuclear family. It promotes violence and antisemitism. To me, this is not what our league stands for."
WNBA players have been outspoken about the racial equality and are not all thrilled with any of Loeffler's comments. The Dream released a team statement in June, which was signed by all 14 players on the squad, expressing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
"We are the women of the Atlanta Dream. We are women who support a movement. We are strong and we are fearless," the statement read. :We offer a voice to the voiceless. 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."
Overall, the league's players have widely supported the movement. Some WNBA players have even opted out of the 2020 WNBA season to focus on activism.