Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said the WNBA won’t push Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler to sell her stake in the team.
Loeffler, a Republican U.S. senator from Georgia, angered team members with recent controversial remarks about the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We’re not going to force her to sell her ownership,” Engelbert told CNN on Thursday. “She is not a current governor (of a team), she is not involved in the day-to-day, and we are aware there are interested parties who want to purchase the team.
“We have a board of governors -- she has not served as a governor since she became a senator, so since October of 2019.”
Atlanta’s players posted a statement on social media on July 10 after Loeffler declared she had no intention of selling her ownership stake.
“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 her criticisms of the Black Lives Matter movement in an editorial published on the Daily Caller website on July 10. She has openly expressed her disagreement with the WNBA’s plan to display “Black Lives Matter” on the court in Florida and to honor women who have died in connection with police action or alleged racial violence.
Loeffler has co-owned the franchise since 2011. The conservative Republican stirred controversy when she appeared on Fox News and termed Black armed protesters in Atlanta as “mob rule.”
Loeffler urged Engelbert in a letter to scrap plans for players to wear warmup jerseys reading “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name” -- in honor of Breonna Taylor -- and instead put an American flag on all uniforms and apparel.
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