Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler, appointed to the U.S. Senate by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp in 2019, will not be returning to Washington. She was defeated on Tuesday by Rev. Raphael Warnock, whose candidacy was supported by WNBA players during the 2020 season.
Warnock is now the first Black person to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate.
In the race for the state’s other Senate seat, Jon Ossoff defeated incumbent David Perdue, giving Democrats — who retained control of the House of Representatives in November — full control of Congress.
But now that the recent billionaire has lost her seat, what does it mean for her ownership stake in the Dream?
This tweet aged well.— Elizabeth Williams (@E_Williams_1) January 6, 2021
Congrats Senator-Elect @ReverendWarnock! I'm especially grateful for my fellow @TheWNBPA members on being strategic, fearless, and relentless. And to @staceyabrams, who turned a crushing gubernatorial defeat into sweet, sweet victory for an entire nation. https://t.co/2hYCKR4Fe1
As has been widely reported, the players of the WNBA and the union that represents them want Loeffler out because she opposed the league’s decision to support players in their dedication of the 2020 season to social justice.
Since the season’s end, Loeffler has been photographed at rallies smiling next to known white supremacists.
Prior to the Jan. 5 runoff in Georgia, Loeffler ran campaign ads on Facebook that depicted Warnock with darker skin, a long-worn trope that plays on racial fears. Her campaign is reported to have spent 10 times as much money on the doctored ads than it spent on those featuring Warnock as he actually looks. With 10 of the Dream’s 12 players being Black women or women of color, and the WNBA being 80-percent Black, where does Loeffler go from here?
In pursuit of a political agenda, she degraded the players’ campaign for social justice and toyed with rhetoric that run counter to the Dream’s founding principles and the initiatives of the league’s Social Justice Council. In an effort to retain a Senate seat she was never voted into in the first place, Loeffler burned every bridge and crossed every line, which no one should expect the players to forgive, let alone forget.
‘Lies have consequences’
One thing the WNBA, the Dream and the team’s fans are unlikely to forget any time soon — like the rest of the nation — is the the angry mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday to thwart the Senate’s ability certify Joe Biden as the next U.S. president. Certification of election results is supposed to be procedural but Trump conspiracy theorists, committed to believing the falsehood of a stolen election, hoped for a Hail Mary that would allow him to stay in power.
Some GOP lawmakers, Loeffler among them, planned to appease this extremist voting block by objecting to Biden’s certification. “On January 6th, I will vote to give President Trump and the American people the fair hearing they deserve and support the objection to the Electoral College certification process,” Loeffler stated Monday on Twitter.
In spite of today’s mayhem in D.C., states already have certified election results showing that Biden won the Electoral College 306-232. Yet, lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have condemned Trump’s conspiracy theories about the election and the violence it provoked on Wednesday.
Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, stated: “Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the president’s addiction to constantly stoking division.”
It’s too bad Loeffler has chosen the wrong side of the divide.
Now that she has, though, maybe it will be LeBron James who rescues the Dream.