Ding, Dong, the Witch Is Dead—and the WNBA Helped Usher In Her Demise

WNBA players have urged people to vote against Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler, a Republican U.S. senator running to keep her seat in Georgia.
WNBA players have urged people to vote against Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler, a Republican U.S. senator running to keep her seat in Georgia.
Photo: Susan Walsh (AP)

Sen. Kelly Loeffler is having a bad day.

When last we left her, the Wicked Witch of the West South was seen licking her wounds after flooding the streets of Atlanta with tears so white that they want to speak to the manager.

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If the cause of her distress is unclear, allow me to paint the picture for you: she just suffered a humiliating defeat to Raphael Warnock in Georgia’s Senate runoffs. Thanks in part to Wakandan queen Stacey Abrams—whose mutant powers include protecting our democracy while aging gracefully (because Black don’t crack)—in addition to the efforts of Black Voters Matter, Nsé Ufot and the New Georgia Project, the fine folks at Fair Fight Action, and countless others who are sick and tired of the GOP’s shit.

It’s amazing what happens when Black votes aren’t suppressed.

But there are unsung heroines among all of the boisterous fireworks and hurled confetti, and while their names might not be familiar, their work to evict Trump’s female doppelganger out of office should be.

For those out of the loop, Loeffler isn’t merely a Georgia Senator or unhinged contributor to Candice Owens’ “I Stand With the Klan” group chat, she’s also co-owner of the WNBA franchise the Atlanta Dream. So imagine her delight when the league embraced the Black Lives Matter movement in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

She responded exactly how you thought she would.

“Now more than ever, we should be united in our goal to remove politics from sports,” she wrote to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Englebert back in July, according to the Washington Post.

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“The lives of each and every African-American matter, and there’s no debating the fact that there is no place for racism in our country,” Loeffler continued. “However, I adamantly oppose the Black Lives Matter political movement. [...] I believe it is totally misaligned with the values and goals of the WNBA and the Atlanta Dream, where we support tolerance and inclusion.”

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As we previously reported at The Root, she also suggested that the BLM patches that teams agreed to wear be replaced with American flags—though to the surprise of absolutely no one, the WNBA Player’s Association told her to get the fuck on with her bullshit and an uprising was born.

Engelbert issued a statement informing the general public that Loeffler was “no longer involved in the day-to-day business of the team” and WNBA players throughout the league made it abundantly clear that the smoke wasn’t only welcomed with open arms, but was strongly encouraged.

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More importantly, they began to use their platform to openly campaign for Warnock, Loeffler’s opponent in Georgia’s Senate runoffs, after taking meetings and doing their homework on him. By doing so, Warnock’s popularity and social media presence soared, as did the amount of donations his campaign received. And for anyone doubting the validity of any of this, we covered that here at The Root too:

[T]he Warnock campaign saw a 10 percent increase in daily donations over its previous daily averages, for an additional $25,000 in the 48 hours following the league and players’ criticism of Loeffler. Similarly, after the WNBA’s T-shirt campaign, Warnock’s campaign brought in 20 percent more than what the campaign had been getting in previous days, for a boost of $40,000 in the 48-hour window.

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When are y’all gonna learn that WNBA players are with the shits?

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All that to say, yes, Warnock’s historic upset was a collective effort, but feel free to give the WNBA its flowers while it can still smell them. Because they are very much well-deserved.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.

DISCUSSION

amessagetorudy
BedandBreakfastMan

Well, at least she’s got her previous career to fall back on. Now where are those dalmatians?...