As the NBA and WNBA season gets ready to resume this month with plans on allowing players to replace their names with a social justice message during games, the co-owner of Atlanta Dream, Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, wants American flags on the jerseys instead.
Atlanta Dream players are not too pleased with Loeffler’s request and are asking that she sell her stake in the organization.
On Friday (July 10), the team made a joint statement on Twitter. It was signed by all 12 players, including the signature of Dream guard Renee Montgomery, who is currently sitting out the 2020 season to focus on social justice issues.
“Our team is united in the movement for Black Lives,” the post read. “It is not extreme to demand change after centuries of inequality. This is not a political statement. This is a statement of humanity.”
Last week, the National Basketball Players Association and the NBA agreed on 29 statements that players can wear on the back of their jerseys.
Loeffler, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, wrote a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert on Tuesday (July 7), urging them to abandon the initiative.
“The truth is, we need less—not more politics in sports,” she wrote. “In a time when polarizing politics is as divisive as ever, sports has the power to be a unifying antidote.”
Montgomery wrote a letter of her own addressing Loeffler on Medium.
“I kindly invite you to rethink your stance and join a discussion with me,” she penned. “While you might very well be on the ‘right’ side of this November’s elections, you are on the wrong side of history if you can’t see that Black Lives Matter.”
The WNBA, which is more than 80% Black, wants Loeffler out. The teams are slated to play inside a “bubble” at the IMG Academy in Florida with warmup jerseys featuring “Black Lives Matter” on the front and “Say Her Name” on the back.
“Black Lives Matter” will also be outlined on the courts during the games.
Loeffler currently has no plans on selling her stake in Atlanta Dream.