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How The WNBA Helped Democrats Regain Control Of The Senate 

In this Friday, March 20, 2020, file photo, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Georgia, waits to speak in a television interview on Capitol Hill in Washington. WNBA players urged people to vote against Atlanta Dream co-owner Loeffler. Loeffler, who spoke out publicly against the league’s social justice plans and sent a letter to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert objecting to the initiatives to honor the Black Lives Matter movement once the season began last month, lost to Rev. Raphael Warnock on Jan. 5, 2021. (Susan Walsh/AP)
In this Friday, March 20, 2020, file photo, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Georgia, waits to speak in a television interview on Capitol Hill in Washington. WNBA players urged people to vote against Atlanta Dream co-owner Loeffler. Loeffler, who spoke out publicly against the league’s social justice plans and sent a letter to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert objecting to the initiatives to honor the Black Lives Matter movement once the season began last month, lost to Rev. Raphael Warnock on Jan. 5, 2021. (Susan Walsh/AP)

The list of people responsible for the transformation of the State of Georgia is long and illustrious, and historians will have much to say about it. One thing we can say now is that nobody on that list is likely to be receiving the Medal of Freedom before January 20th.

At the top of that list is Stacey Abrams. No doubt about that. Somewhere below her, smiling triumphantly, you’ll find the members of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, the team currently (perhaps temporarily) co-owned by Kelly Loeffler, late of the U.S. Senate.

The members of the Dream were agitating against Loeffler as long ago as August, after Loeffler had written the WNBA’s commissioner to denounce the Black Lives Matter Movement, which the league had supported, and which Loeffler accused of “promoting ideas about radically changing America.”

The “radical changes” espoused by that movement include altering the behavior of police officers who kill Black people because they are Black and the behavior of election operatives who prevent people — many of them Black — from voting because they are not likely to vote as the election operatives would prefer.

... like lots of victories, the wide, deep and heroic results of Tuesday’s election have lots of fathers... and mothers.

Many of the players in the WNBA are members of the group the “radical changes” would directly benefit, because the changes would make less likely the slaughter of their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. The changes would also make less likely the disappearance of polling places in their neighborhoods and the elimination of their names from voting rolls for reasons ranging in validity from slim to none.

So protesting the behavior of Kelly Loeffler by wearing T-shirts supporting her opponent was kind of a slamdunk for the players on the team she co-owns, and for their colleagues around the league as well.

Kelly Loeffler responded to the protests of the Dream’s players by asserting that “politics and sports don’t mix.” Her response to Donald Trump’s solicitation of the support of the likes of Tom Brady and Robert Kraft and his delighted acceptance of the generous campaign contributions of various men who own teams in the National Football League is apparently on hold, or maybe she is perhaps unaware of these developments, since she has said she doesn’t want to surrender her share of the Dream because “it is very important that we have conservative voices in sports…people that are willing to speak out and stand up for what’s right for our country.”

This means what? That without her, there are no such voices?

There’s no way to measure the impact the support of the members of the Dream had on Tuesday’s triumph of the Rev. Raphael Warnock over Kelly Loeffler. Anecdotal evidence (see Michele Norris’s tweets) suggests that some voters were unaware of Loeffler’s agenda before members of the Dream began outing it, but like lots of victories, the wide, deep and heroic results of Tuesday’s election have lots of fathers... and mothers.

Still, assuming you’re a fan of the right of Black people to avoid getting shot and a fan of the notion that everybody qualified to vote ought to have the opportunity to do it, the Atlanta Dream has certainly given you a WNBA team for which to root.

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