Players from Atlanta Dream and the entire WNBA celebrated Georgian Sen. Elector Raphael Warnock’s victory over Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler in Tuesday’s election.
Loeffler has a 49% stake in Dream, a team that is nearly 70% black and whose players have long been proponents and organizers of racial justice, the Black Lives Matter, paying equity and for other reasons.
Loeffler, who became a partial owner in 2010, expressed views that directly conflicted with his team’s values and prompted them to campaign against his re-election.
“In 2019, I didn’t know how to call @ReverendWarnock because he was a dr and a pastor. Now I need to add the senator to the list. ”- Dream star Renee Montgomery, who spent the 2020 season focusing on social justice projects tweeted. “Congratulations to Pastor Warnock, Senator! – Dinner on me # klipforheroes.”
His teammate Elizabeth Williams also congratulated Warnock on Twitter: “Congratulations to the elected senator @ReverendWarnock! I am especially grateful to my @TheWNBPA members for being strategic, fearless and ruthless. And to @staceyabrams, who turned the crushing governor defeat into a sweet, sweet victory for an entire nation. “
In addition to the Atlanta Dream, players within the WNBA also expressed their support for Warnock shortly after he was declared the winner.
A Seattle Storm AIysha Clark tweeted, “I’m very proud of our entire league for stepping up and using our platform for change! People are joking about our league, but understand this: THE FABULOUS WOMEN’S LEAGUE JOINS A WONDERFUL BLACK WOMAN TO HELP IT TO HELP!”
Clark’s teammate, Breanna Stewart tweeted, “The victory is cool, but have you already flipped the Senate ??? @WNBA @TheWNBPA s / o to all the incredible women who represent Wt !! Congratulations @ReverendWarnock !! We are on the right side of history !! “
Over the summer, as sports teams and leagues protested against racial injustice, the WNBA announced it would set up a social justice council to initiate talks and take action against inequality, implicit bias and systemic racism, the league’s website said. The next day, Loeffler sent a letter to Commissioner Cathy Engelbert, opposing the Black Lives Matter. The next day, WNBA Players Association president Nneka Ogwumike tweeted a list of practical steps that teams, the league and fans can take. The first action was to buy Loeffler’s 49% stake in the team, or the whole team, and buy “Vote Warnock” t-shirts.
Most of the tension between Loeffler and Dream’s players is caused by political contradictions. Loeffler disagreed with the lack of players on the pitch during the national anthem. And the players say his politics don’t represent the league.
Angel McCoughtry, who played for Dream for 10 years, questioned why Loeffler owns a WNBA team, given the league’s history of social justice activism and Loeffler’s controversial stance, writes The Athletic.
– Why do you have a WNBA team? he said. “My personal opinion is that you have to play a political game to look good in front of your partner.” He added: “When we talk about social justice and things, it’s not politics. This is human rights. I don’t know why he mixes the two.
With the momentum recovering, Engelbert said Loefller will not be forced to sell, and Loeffler said he will not, writes The Athletic.
Ogwumike has not specified who he or the other players want to buy from the team. LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers star, expressed interest Wednesday morning in the purchase of the team after assembling the team’s ownership team.
The other owner of the band is Mary Brock, who works on the board of trustees of Spelman College and the board of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
Loeffler and Engelbert appear unchanged in the situation of not selling or forcing a sale, but have not yet made a public statement about the opportunity since Warnock won.
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