(CNS News) -- During the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) season opener, players from both teams exited the court before the playing of the National Anthem, the “Star-Spangled Banner.’ Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), a WNBA co-owner, called the players’ actions “shameful.
Correction: Players left the court before the national anthem was played, not during. https://t.co/MdW7HtMO1P— ESPN (@espn) July 26, 2020
The season opener at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., was a contest between the Seattle Storm and the New York Liberty.
Right before the anthem was played, the players from both teams walked off the court and headed back to their respective locker rooms in protest, as part of a WNBA-wide social justice initiative.
As part of the initiative, the players wore warm-up t-shirts that said “Black Lives Matter” on the front and “Say Her Name” on the back. “Say Her Name” is a reference to Breonna Taylor, who has been a centerpiece of the BLM movement since she was killed by police officers in March.
Senator Kelly Loeffler responded on Twitter, saying, “Shameful. This isn’t unifying Americans. It’s a political stunt that disrespects every man, woman & child who has given their life for this country.”
“The WNBA has fully embraced the BLM political movement & turned its back on the American flag,” she added. “That’s not sports -- that’s politics.”
Loeffler has been a co-owner of the WNBA team, the Atlanta Dream, since 2011.
Also, Loeffler has been a vocal critic of the WNBA’s embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement. In early July, Loeffler sent a letter to the WNBA opposing their decision to promote the radical left organization. Loeffler suggested instead putting American flags on jerseys as a “symbol of unity.”
Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013 by three radical left-wingers: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opel Tometi. In a 2015 interview, Cullors disclosed that she and Garza are “trained Marxists.”
The Black Lives Matter website explains its mission as “to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”
“We are a collective of liberators” moving beyond “narrow nationalism,” that seeks to “dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women….” The group also seeks to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure” and “foster a queer-affirming network.”
Other people responded online to the WNBA national anthem exit.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) mockingly joked, “Stunts like this could provoke the fans to walk out. Oh, wait…”
Conservative commentator Mark Levin called the move “More disgusting un-American antics.”