Scenes from the drive-in rally for Georgia Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock (Democrat) – Brunswick, Georgia USA – January 2, 2021 (Shutterstock)
By Cassandra Negley, Yahoo Sports
Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler will no longer serve in the U.S. Senate, a conclusion to months of heated campaigning that prompted Dream players and WNBA stars to publicly support her opponent.
Loeffler, a Republican, lost the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia in a race called early Wednesday morning by the Associated Press. She was appointed to the seat in January 2020 and had to run in a special election on Nov. 3. It went to a runoff since no one had 50 percent of the vote.
Democrat Raphael Warnock, a Black pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, was declared the winner on Wednesday. He had a 35,000-vote lead with 97 percent of the vote counted.
The WNBA did that. Warnock was polling at 9 percent at the beginning of August when the WNBA players began supporting him with T-shirts and interview mentions. Loeffler, who drew their ire by speaking out against the support of the Black Lives Matter movement, was polling at 26 percent at the time.
Their activism has not stopped since that moment in the WNBA bubble, which led to the league’s inclusion as one of Yahoo Sports’ Transcendent 12 athletes in 2020. As results came in late Tuesday and into Wednesday, the sports world gave their appreciation to the league and its players on Twitter and celebrated the victory.
— More Than A Vote (@morethanavote) January 6, 2021
Warnock will make history as Georgia’s first Black senator and the first Black Democrat to represent a southern state in the Senate. The other runoff race between Republican incumbent David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff is still too close to call. If Ossoff wins, it will flip the Senate to the Democrats.
So the WNBPA is starting its Wednesday by flipping pancakes.
— WNBPA (@TheWNBPA) January 6, 2021
— Nneka Ogwumike (@Nnemkadi30) January 6, 2021
And when the WNBA returns in May — as long as there are no COVID-19 related delays — the Dream are kindly reminding new fans to check them out this summer. Atlanta boasts young scoring sensation Chennedy Carter and has the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA draft held in April.
— Atlanta Dream (@AtlantaDream) January 6, 2021
The rest of the sports world gave the WNBA some love and appreciation, particularly the Dream and the reigning champion Seattle Storm. Veteran superstar and four-time champion Sue Bird helped lead the way to wearing “Vote Warnock” shirts after and explained their stance on the ESPN broadcast that night. They spoke with Warnock on a video call to make sure their values aligned. Every other team wore the shirts in a calculated response and none of the players spoke Loeffler’s name in interviews the rest of the season.
Wifey’s pettiness is unmatched! 🗣👀 https://t.co/IaEPkye2se
— Layshia Clarendon (@Layshiac) January 6, 2021
— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) January 6, 2021
— Lindsey Fitzgerald (@linzfitzgerald) January 6, 2021
Shout out to the WNBA players. I’m really honored to be in this league! The players are second to none. Very proud of not only the history they helped create but everything the players stand for! Amazing! Huge Congratulations @ReverendWarnock
— James Wade (@coachjameswade) January 6, 2021
— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerr) January 6, 2021
And then there’s this from Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James with support from Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts. The WNBPA initially said that they wanted Loeffler out after she wrote an open letter to the commissioner speaking against Black Lives Matter.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 6, 2021
COUNT ME IN!!!!! https://t.co/GYZVFhyJt8
— Mookie Betts (@mookiebetts) January 6, 2021
There have been reports Loeffler and co-owner Mary Brock had already been looking to sell the Dream. All the eyes emojis for James going forward.