WNBA Player Writes Letter to Georgia Senator Over Black Lives Matter Stance, Says Her Comments 'Hurt Deeply'

WNBA player Renee Montgomery penned an open letter to Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler after the senator wrote an open letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert opposing her decision to allow players to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

According to The Associated Press, Loeffler, who also co-owns the WNBA's Atlanta Dream, sent a letter to Engelbert after the commissioner's decision to allow players to wear symbols that read "Black Lives Matter" and "Say Her Name" on their jerseys, following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and more.

"The truth is, we need less -- not more politics in sports. In a time when polarizing politics is as divisive as ever, sports has the power to be a unifying antidote," Loeffler's letter stated.

In an open letter posted to Medium, Montgomery, who plays for the Dream, explained why she took issue with Loeffler's letter.

"Your comments hurt deeply because it was a veiled 'All Lives Matter' response. It's not that you're tone deaf to the cry for justice, but you seemingly oppose it," Montgomery wrote. "And you are speaking from a position of immense influence as a team co-owner in our league and as a US Senator."

Besides explaining the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement to Loeffler and giving examples of athletes speaking out against injustice, Montgomery said she would have supported the senator during the Women's Rights movement in the 1920s, urging the Atlanta Dream co-owner to support her. "I want to live in a world where you're standing with me, arms interlocked in solidarity, just as I would have been with you during the suffrage movement in 1919 to give you, a woman, the right to vote," she wrote.

Montgomery also encouraged Loeffler to "rethink [her] stance and join a discussion with" the player. She concluded her letter to the senator. "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," she wrote.

At the end of June, Montgomery tweeted that she would be focusing on social justice initiatives rather than playing in the 2020 season.

After much thought, I've decided to opt out of the 2020 WNBA season. There's work to be done off the court in so many areas in our community. Social justice reform isn't going to happen overnight but I do feel that now is the time and Moments equal Momentum. Lets keep it going!

— Renee Montgomery (@itsreneem_) June 18, 2020

On Friday, players from the Atlanta Dream shared a statement in a tweet, showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement: "This is not a political statement. This is a statement of humanity."


— Atlanta Dream (@AtlantaDream) July 10, 2020

The Atlanta Dream did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication. Newsweek reached out to Kelly Loeffler's office for comment and left a message, but did not receive a response in time for publication. Newsweek also contacted Montgomery via social media.

Renee Montfomery
Renee Montgomery #21 of the Minnesota Lynx handles the ball against the Los Angeles Sparks during a WNBA basketball game at Staples Center on August 27, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Montgomery, who now plays for the Atlanta Dream, shared an open letter with her current team owner, Senator Kelly Loeffler, on Friday. Leon Bennett/Getty