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ESPN Condemns Tweet By Star NBA Reporter To US Senator, But Won’t Detail Punishment – Deadline
ESPN said an obscene tweet by star NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski to Republican US Senator from Missouri Josh Hawley was “completely unacceptable behavior” and promised internal discipline. The company statement came after Wojnarowski tweeted “F**k you” to H…
ESPN said an obscene tweet by star NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski to Republican US Senator from Missouri Josh Hawley was “completely unacceptable behavior” and promised internal discipline.
The company statement came after Wojnarowski tweeted “F**k you” to Hawley, who asked in a tweet and letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver why NBA players were not allowed to put “Free Hong Kong,” “Support Our Troops,” “Back The Blue” and other conservative statements on their shirts.
The league and its players association have approved 29 social justice statements that players can optionally have on their shirts instead of their names for the reopened NBA season. The list includes phrases like “Black Lives Matter,” “Say Their Names,” and “I Can’t Breathe,” among others.
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The NBA will also have “Black Lives Matter” on its courts.
ESPN’s statement indicated that any discipline will not be made public. “This is completely unacceptable behavior and we do not condone it. It is inexcusable for anyone working for ESPN to respond in the way Adrian did to Senator Hawley. We are addressing it directly with Adrian and specifics of those conversations will remain internal.”
Wojnarowski also issued a statement apologizing for the tweet. Why he reacted so emotionally to the senator’s request is unclear.
“I was disrespectful and I made a regrettable mistake,’ Wojnarowski said in his statement. “I’m sorry for the way I handled myself and I am reaching out immediately to Senator Hawley to apologize directly. I also need to apologize to my ESPN colleagues because I know my actions were unacceptable and should not reflect on any of them.”
Hawley said in a responding tweet that he didn’t want an apology fro mWojnarowski. Instead, he urged ESPN to “call out the NBA.”
“Don’t make @wojespn apologize. He’s just saying what he really thinks. Call out the @NBA. You know, your job.”
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Atlanta Dream’s Renee Montgomery pens letter to Sen. Kelly Loeffler: ‘Don’t end up on the wrong side of history’ – USA TODAY
In an open letter, Renee Montgomery implored Atlanta Dream co-owner, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, to reassess her stance on Black Lives Matter.
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Atlanta Dream guard Renee Montgomery has conquered the basketball court both in the WNBA and before that at the University of Connecticut. But last month, Montgomery decided there was a bigger battle to be contested, so she made the decision to opt out of the 2020 WNBA season in order to focus on racial and social justice.
Little did she know her first major battle would put her on the opposite side of her own team owner.
Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler, who is also a Republican Senator from Georgia, made waves Tuesday when she sent a letter to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert urging the league to put American flags on the jerseys for the league’s restart rather than the planned anti-racism messages “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name” (a reference to the recent killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville).
That prompted a rebuke from the WNBA Players Association, who tweeted in response to Loeffler: “E-N-O-U-G-H! O-U-T!”
Montgomery, who won WNBA championships with the Minnesota Lynx in 2015 and 2017 before signing a multiyear contract with Atlanta in 2018, also shared her disappointment with Loeffler on Tuesday. She tweeted, “I’m pretty sad to see that my team ownership is not supportive of the movement & all that it stands for.” Montgomery also suggested the two could have a conversation about the topic.
Dear @SenatorLoeffler ….
Im pretty sad to see that my team ownership is not supportive of the movement & all that it stands for. I was already sitting out this season & this is an example of why. I would love to have a conversation with you about the matter if youre down?
Renee Montgomery (@itsreneem_) July 7, 2020
Loeffler doubled down on her stance during an interview with Laura Ingraham on Wednesday night, telling the Fox News host that Black Lives Matter “is based on Marxist principles” that threatens to “destroy” America. The Senator also called the BLM group “anti-Semitic and doesn’t support the nuclear family.” Loeffler said she will not give up her ownership stake in the Dream despite players and the union calling on her to do so.
And so Friday, after receiving no response to her invitation for a conversation, Montgomery penned a letter to Loeffler in Medium.
Atlanta Dream guard Renee Montgomery will sit out the 2020 WNBA season to focus on racial and social justice issues.
(Photo: Rick Scuteri, AP)
“Your comments hurt deeply because it was a veiled ‘All Lives Matter’ response,” Montgomery wrote. “It’s not that you’re tone deaf to the cry for justice, but you seemingly oppose it. And you are speaking from a position of immense influence as a team co-owner in our league and as a U.S. Senator.”
After making analogies to murdered civil rights activist Medgar Evers and Australian Aborigines, Montgomery then tried to appeal to Loeffler on a personal level.
“Imagine your friend overwhelmed with grief, tears flowing down her cheeks, confiding in you that she has breast cancer. How good of a friend would you be if you crossed your arms and replied, ‘All cancers matter?’
“This year, I don’t need more friends who tell me, ‘Everyone matters.’ I already know that. I need someone to tell me, ‘You, Renee, matter.’ ”
OPINION: Senators critical of social justice efforts should stick to politics
Loeffler faces a tough re-election contest in November, and Montgomery said she understood the Senator’s attempts to appeal to her base, but she took affront to Loeffler’s insistence that sports shouldn’t mingle with politics.
“I kindly invite you to rethink your stance and join a discussion with me,” Montgomery concluded. “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.”
You can read Montgomery’s letter in full here.
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