“I tend to believe that walking away from problems and walking away from a dialogue is not the right approach,” she said after a rally in Cobb County where she asserted that politics and sports don’t mix.
“Walking away from that moment prevents us from having those important dialogues,” she added, shifting to a critique of Black Lives Matter, which she said promotes ideas about “defunding the police and radically changing America.”
“I don’t think they have a place in sports,” Loeffler said. “Sports need to be about unity and bringing us together.”
Collins, meanwhile, has questioned why she hadn’t been as vocal about earlier league initiatives, such as a promotion a few years ago that allowed fans to donate a portion of ticket sales to Planned Parenthood, the reproductive health care organization vilified by some conservatives.
”She’s not who she says she is,“ he said at a campaign stop in Gainesville. “She was one thing this time last year, now she’s another thing, because they told her, ’You got to be a conservative.’ Well, that’s not who she is.”
Loeffler spokesman Stephen Lawson said that neither Loeffler nor the Dream “have given a dime to Planned Parenthood.”
About the Senate special election
The November special election for U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s seat features 21 candidates on the same ballot with no party primary to filter out nominees.
If no one gets a majority of the vote – all but certain given the number of candidates - the two top finishers will square off in a January runoff.
Because of the dynamics, it means there’s likely to be one Republican and one Democrat in January matchup. U.S. Rep. Doug Collins is Loeffler’s most formidable GOP challenger, and polls show them in a close race. Raphael Warnock is the establishment-backed Democrat, though he faces competition from educator Matt Lieberman and former federal prosecutor Ed Tarver from his party’s base.
The race is separate from Georgia’s other U.S. Senate contest. Republican David Perdue, who is seeking a second term in office, faces Democrat Jon Ossoff and Libertarian Shane Hazel. That race, too could head to a runoff.
Loeffler’s relationship with the team she co-owns with Mary Brock has steadily disintegrated.
After she criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, the Dream released a pointed statement that rebuked her. It concluded with: “Black Lives Matter. Vote in November.”
Dozens of WNBA players wore "Vote Warnock" T-shirts in August, promoting the campaign of the Rev. Raphael Warnock against U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler after she criticized the Black Lives Matter movement. That included members of the Atlanta Dream, which Loeffler has co-owned since 2011. Twitter/Sue Bird.
And weeks later, Dream players joined dozens of others across the league who wore “Vote Warnock” T-shirts before games — a reference to the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the establishment-backed Democratic candidate in the race.
On Friday, ESPN published a lengthy story about the “stalemate” between Loeffler and the league, which revealed that Dream officials have provided financial information to potential buyers. Among them is former Los Angeles Clipper Baron Davis.
“I would say, just from the Donald Sterling thing, I think it’s just life coming full circle,” Davis told ESPN, a reference to the then-Clippers owner who was forced to sell the team after he was caught on tape making racist statements to his mistress.
Pressed on Friday, Loeffler said she’s entertained “expressions of interest” from investors who want to join the Dream’s ownership team. But she said repeatedly that she has no plans to sell her stake.
“It’s very important we have conservative voices in sports, people that are willing to speak out and stand up for what’s right for our country,” she said. “I’ll continue to be part of it.”