Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Georgia Republican, doubled down Friday on her opposition to the WNBA’s plan to partner with Black Lives Matter, drawing a distinction between the popular rallying cry and the “radical organization with a Marxist platform.”
“There’s a big difference between the statement ‘Black lives matter’—of course the life of every African-American matters. We have to root out racism where it exists,” said Ms. Loeffler, who owns a stake in the Atlanta Dream, on Fox News Channel’s “The Story.”
“But the political organization Black Lives Matter is very different,” she said. “It has Marxist foundations, and it’s important that people understand what their goals are because sports should be unifying.”
Ms. Loeffler has rejected calls to sell her stake in the team over her opposition to the league’s decision to display “Black Lives Matter” on the court — and have players wear “Black Lives Matter” warm-up jerseys—which she criticized in a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert as an effort to “insert a political platform into the league.”
In a July 6 press release, the WNBA said that Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza was among those who have “proudly stepped up to champion and advise the players.” Another co-founder, Patrisse Cullors, said in a 2015 interview that she and Ms. Garza are “trained Marxists.”
Ms. Loeffler said Friday that “this political platform, Black Lives Matter, is funded through ActBlue, which raises money for liberal organizations and Democrats.”
“It has the objectives of defunding the police, of defunding the military, of destroying the nuclear family, it’s anti-Semitic, it promotes violence in our cities, and I think it’s very important Americans know this,” she said.
The BLM movement is highly decentralized, but the organization founded in 2013 by Ms. Cullors, Ms. Garza and Opal Tometi seeks to defund the police as well as “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family.” The group has since been renamed the Black Lives Matter Global Network.
Its partners include the Movement for Black Lives, an “anti-capitalist” group that released a 2016 policy platform decrying Israel as an “apartheid state” and accusing it of “genocide” against Palestinians. The platform also called for cuts to the military and “an end to all jails, prisons, immigration and youth detention.”
A statement Friday from “the women of the Atlanta Dream” said, “Our team is united in the Movement for Black Lives.”
“This is not a political statement. This is a statement of humanity,” said the post signed by 12 players. “Black lives matter.”
Player Elizabeth Williams tweeted, “We’ve read the letter. We reject the letter. Black lives matter. Vote in November.”
CNN columnist Roxanne Jones said Thursday that the Republican lawmaker, who faces a special election to retain her seat after being appointed last year to fill a vacancy, “hopes her race-baiting message will resonate in November,” which Ms. Loeffler called “outrageous.”
“It’s absolutely outrageous,” the senator said. ‘Guess what, free speech applies to all Americans, no matter what your political party is, and the threat of being canceled because you don’t toe the line of a political message is dangerous. That’s not what this country is about.”
Ms. Loeffler also said that she had “received tremendous support from so many saying, thank you for standing up, thank you for having a backbone for our country.”
That includes the Zionist Organization of America, which called Friday on “all patriots and people of good conscience to join Sen. Loeffler in calling out the Black Lives Matter political organization for its Jew-hatred and its anti-Israel activities and associations.”