Republican Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler has been a co-owner of the Atlanta Dream for nearly a decade. But if some WNBA players get their way, she’ll eventually be ousted because of something she said about Black protesters in Atlanta.
Loeffler, appointed to her seat in December 2019, was a guest on Fox News last month and criticized armed Black protesters in Atlanta occupying the site of the slaying of Rayshard Brooks. Brooks, a Black man, was shot and killed by a white police officer during an arrest attempt in Atlanta on June 12, and protests broke out at the Wendy’s near downtown Atlanta where he was killed.
Besides Americans having the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, Georgia is an open-carry state as long as one has a permit or license.
Loeffler is a known supporter of the National Rifle Association and posed for a photo with NRA’s president Carolyn Meadows as recently as this past January. So some observers said the senator’s concern about Black people carrying guns doesn’t align with her championing Second Amendment rights.
In a June 24 appearance on Fox News show “America’s Newsroom,” Loeffler, asked by host Ed Henry about the armed demonstrators occupying the site of Brooks’ slaying, said, “We cannot allow mob rule. This is exactly what will happen if we defund the police.”
But based on both of her Twitter accounts, she said nothing when a group of armed white protesters went to the Michigan Capitol in April to protest stay-at-home orders and having to wear masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
In a June 29 Yahoo Sports editorial, a columnist compared Loeffler to former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was heard making racist comments in a leaked phone call in 2014 while speaking to his mistress. Sterling received a lifetime ban from attending games from NBA commissioner Adam Silver that year and a $2.5 million fine.
Atlanta Dream player Renee Montgomery, who last month said she was sitting out of the 2020 WNBA season to work on social justice issues, responded to Loeffler’s interview on Twitter and blasted her.
“The second amendment is part of the Bill of Rights,” wrote Montgomery on June 26. “The problem some may be having is who is bearing the arms.”
Another tweet came from retired WNBA player Sheryl Swoopes, who wrote,”@WNBA MUST do better!!!”
Seattle Storm forward Alysha Clark also weighed in on Loeffler’s interview by sharing the Yahoo article on Twitter.
“Why is Kelly Loeffler still a WNBA co-owner despite ‘Donald Sterling vibes’?” Clark tweeted on Friday, July 3, repeating the column’s headline. “I’m really baffled over here.”
The Atlanta Dream has yet to respond to Loeffler’s interview on Fox or the backlash she received.