Mon, 01 Mar 2021

Atlanta Dream, co-owned by Kelly Loeffler, near sale

Field Level Media
20 Jan 2021, 16:19 GMT+10

The Atlanta Dream, overshadowed by a rift between co-owner Kelly Loeffler and her players regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, are close to being sold with the outgoing U.S. senator reportedly not expected to remain associated with the franchise.

"As it relates to the Atlanta Dream, we understand a sale of the franchise is close to being finalized," a WNBA spokesperson told several media outlets in separate emails. "Once the sale negotiation is concluded, additional information will be provided."

ESPN reported that Loeffler, a Republican from Georgia, was not believed to be part of the future ownership group and that upwards of five potential buyers have shown a desire to purchase the team.

Loeffler became a household name outside of Georgia last summer when she publicly disagreed with the WNBA over its support of Black Lives Matter. She repeatedly criticized the social justice movement and openly expressed her dismay with the WNBA's display of "Black Lives Matter" on the court during last season's bubble in Florida.

The Dream players initially pushed for her to sell her 49 percent share of the franchise.

"This is just more proof that the out of control cancel culture wants to shut out anyone who disagrees with them," Loeffler wrote in a statement issued last summer. "It's clear that the league is more concerned with playing politics than basketball."

At the height of the controversy, commissioner Cathy Engelbert opted to avoid taking any action against Loeffler, who has co-owned the Dream with Mary Brock since 2011.

"We're not going to force her to sell her ownership," Engelbert told CNN in July. "She is not a current governor (of a team), she is not involved in the day-to-day, and we are aware there are interested parties who want to purchase the team."

As the attention increased on the disagreement, players from the Dream and other teams banded together to wear shirts urging voters to choose one of Loeffler's opponents, Democratic Rev. Raphael Warnock, while looking ahead to November's senatorial election. After the vote for the state's open Senate seats went to a run-off held on Jan. 5, Loeffler was defeated by Warnock in a dramatic vote that helped cost Republicans a Senate majority.

Warnock is slated to be sworn into Loeffler's former position in Washington on Wednesday.

--Field Level Media

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