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WNBA will not demand Loeffler sell stake in Atlanta Dream

FILE PHOTO: Cathy Engelbert, chief executive officer at Deloitte, speaks at the 2017 Fortune magazine's Most Powerful Women summit in Washington, U.S., October 9, 2017. Photo taken October 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

(Reuters) - WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler will not be forced to sell her stake in the team, despite harsh criticism from within the league over comments she made about Black Lives Matter.

Loeffler, a Republican U.S. senator from Georgia, criticized the league earlier this month for supporting the movement, saying “we need less - not more politics in sports,” and called Black Lives Matter “a very divisive organization based on Marxist principles.”

Engelbert has said the WNBA, which has dedicated its upcoming season to social justice, would “continue to use our platforms to vigorously advocate for social justice.”

“We’re not going to force her to sell her ownership,” she told CNN on Thursday, adding that Loeffler is not involved in the “day-to-day” team operations.

Englebert noted that “there are interested parties who want to purchase the team.”

The league is set to kick off a truncated season due to the coronavirus outbreak at a single site in Bradenton, Florida, on July 25.

Reporting by Amy Tennery; editing by Richard Pullin

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