Sale of WNBA’s Atlanta Dream co-owned by outgoing Sen. Kelly Loeffler is ‘close to being finalized’January 20th, 2021
A sale of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream is imminent, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
AJC reported on Tuesday that a league source expects a sale of the team to be finalized soon.
“As it relates to the Atlanta Dream, we understand a sale of the franchise is close to being finalized,” the source told AJC. “Once the sale negotiation is concluded, additional information will be provided.”
The report didn’t speculate on the potential buyer. The Dream declined to comment when AJC reached out.
Controversial co-owner Loeffler under pressure to sell
The Dream are co-owned by Mary Brock and outgoing Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who earlier this month lost a runoff for her seat to Raphael Warnock in an election that flipped the balance of power in the U.S. Senate to Democrats.
WNBA and NBA players have advocated for new Dream ownership amid Loeffler’s controversial politics that included supporting President Donald Trump and his baseless conspiracies that Joe Biden didn’t rightfully win the presidential election.
Loeffler created a rift with Black Lives Matter stance
Loeffler has repeatedly said she does not intend to sell her stake amid mounting pressure that came from players on her own team. Loeffler was a vocal critic of the Black Lives Matter movement as NBA and WNBA players embraced social justice causes in 2020 amid the national race reckoning in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.
She wrote a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Englebert urging the league to halt its embrace of Black Lives Matter. She seized on political talking points during her campaign falsely tying Black Lives Matter to Marxism.
“There is no room for racism in this country,” Loeffler said at a July campaign stop, per NPR. “We cannot have it. But there is an organization, different from the saying, an organization called Black Lives Matter founded on Marxist principles. Marxism supports socialism.”
Her criticism of player activism prompted swift backlash from athletes and calls for her to sell the team. Presenters of the Dream and players across the WNBA wore T-shirts reading “Vote Warnock” in August in support of her political opponent.
Amid the backlash, the WNBA distanced itself from Loeffler in a July statement:
“The WNBA is based on the principle of equal and fair treatment of all people and we, along with the teams and players, will continue to advocate for social justice.
“Sen. Loeffler has not served as a Governor of the Atlanta Dream since October 2019 and is no longer involved in the day-to-day business of the team.”
But Engelbert insisted that the WNBA would not force Loeffler to sell her stake in the team.
LeBron James said he wants to buy Dream
WNBA players speaking out against Loeffler found allies in the NBA, including Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. After Warnock defeated Loeffler in the Jan. 5 election, James floated the idea of buying the Dream on Twitter.
Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts and actor/comedian Kevin Hart were among those ready to join James in his potential bid.
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