The initial response to Loeffler, who is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the team, came after she wrote a letter in early July to Engelbert, saying, “I adamantly oppose the Black Lives Matter political movement, which has advocated for the defunding of police.” Loeffler also accused the movement of promoting “violence and destruction across the country.”
One of the most high-profile rebukes came from Dream players, who issued a collective statement on July 10: “It is not extreme to demand change after centuries of inequality. This is not a political statement. This is a statement of humanity.”
Loeffler has since made a cause celebre of criticizing the W.N.B.A.’s commitment to social justice, frequently conducting interviews painting herself as a victim of so-called “cancel culture” as a result of the backlash from players.
In her Senate race, Loeffler is fighting to remain in the seat she was appointed to late last year after Johnny Isakson stepped down because of health problems. To win, a candidate must get 50 percent of the vote. If no candidate reaches that mark, the top two candidates will have a runoff, which is widely expected to be the outcome. The other top candidate in the race is Representative Doug Collins, a Republican and ardent supporter of President Trump.
Collins and the W.N.B.A. players have one thing in common: They want Loeffler to sell her stake in the team. But Collins’s reasoning was different. On July 7, he issued a statement that said Loeffler should “get out of the liberal agenda advocacy business,” in reference to the Dream.
Asked if she was bothered that the W.N.B.A. was not forcing Loeffler to sell her stake, Williams said: “Honestly, I think that she wants the league to push her out. She wants that to be part of this statement that she’s making that, ‘Oh, Black Lives Matter is divisive. They pushed me out because they feel differently, blah blah blah.’
“So I think, ironically, playing this kind of wait and see game is more frustrating for Kelly than it is for us,” Williams said.