Former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley says she’s proud of Kelly Loeffler for “standing up to the mob” after the Atlanta Dream co-owner had publicly denounced the WNBA’s endorsement of the Black Lives Matter movement.
And by “mob,” Haley appears to mean WNBA players, who have been calling for Loeffler to be ousted from the league in droves.
In a tweet Wednesday, Haley, who served as President Donald Trump’s first ambassador to the UN, applauded Loeffler for her stance against Black Lives Matter. “Proud of @KLoeffler for standing up to the mob wanting sports to be about uniting people, not dividing people based on political agendas,” Haley wrote, with a misplaced comma.
The former South Carolina governor quote-tweeted a New York Post article that explicitly mentions the backlash from WNBA players against Loeffler.
WNBA legend and Team USA coach Dawn Staley admonished Haley for her divisive language: “The ultimate division is packed in this tweet,” she tweeted. “We shall and will overcome.”
As a junior Republican senator from Georgia mired in a tough re-election race against far-right Republican congressman Doug Collins, Loeffler probably felt it was politically expedient for her to publicly rip the WNBA’s plans to paint “Black Lives Matter” on its courts at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. In a letter addressed to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, Loeffler expressed her strong desire to disassociate from the racial justice organization.
“I adamantly oppose the Black Lives Matter political movement, which has advocated for the defunding of police, called for the removal of Jesus from churches and the disruption of the nuclear family structure, harbored anti-Semitic views, and promoted violence and destruction across the country,” she wrote, via ESPN. “I believe it is totally misaligned with the values and goals of the WNBA and the Atlanta Dream, where we support tolerance and inclusion.”
Two weeks ago, Loeffler said in an interview with Fox News that Black armed protesters in Atlanta were demonstrating “mob rule,” despite her stated unfettered support of the Second Amendment and Georgia’s open carry law.
The one-two punch of ridiculousness prompted many WNBA players, including LGBT stars, to lambast Loeffler on social media. Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud told Loeffler to “get her weak ass out of the league;” Sue Bird agreed that Loeffler has “Donald Sterling vibes”; Layshia Clarendon said she “can’t believe” she “ever stepped foot” in Loeffler’s house.
I can’t believe I ever stepped foot in Kelly’s house and shared a meal with her. It’s actually really hurtful to see her true colors. I had no idea while I played for ATL she felt this way. Happy to own us as long as we stay quiet and perform https://t.co/97jTbmuHda— Layshia Clarendon (@Layshiac) July 7, 2020
The WNBA issued a statement earlier this week, explaining Loeffler isn’t involved in the day-to-day operations of the Dream. In a statement provided to Outsports, the Dream said they are “not a political entity” and “focused on building a successful team on the court, winning games and creating a second-to-none fan experience.”
Loeffler became part of the Dream’s ownership group in 2011. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appointed her to fill Johnny Isakson’s vacant senate seat in December.