How the WNBA Flipped a Senate Seat

TOGETHXR’s newest documentary, in partnership with Prime Video, chronicles the story of how WNBA players came together and used their collective voice to influence a critical 2020 senate race. Intrigued? Inspired? All of the above? Check out Power of the Dream on Prime Video.

Watch the full documentary here.

July 9, 2016

WNBA legends Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore, Rebekah Brunson, and Seimone Augustus hold a press conference and share a statement regarding the Minnesota Lynx players’ stances on the murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, who were both killed by police. The Lynx faced backlash, including from their own security, who walked out of their games after players wore shirts honoring the victims of violence. 

July 21, 2016

The WNBA levies fines against players and the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty, and the Phoenix Mercury for wearing black warm-up shirts that protested the police killings. The league issued these fines because players “violated the league’s uniform policy.” 

July 23, 2016

The WNBA rescinds the team and individual fines. Lisa Borders, the acting league president at the time, tweeted, “Appreciate our players expressing themselves on matters important to them. Rescinding imposed fines to show them even more support”. 

August 14, 2016

NFL player Colin Kaepernick begins kneeling during the national anthem to peacefully protest police killings, which ignites a national conversation regarding athlete protests. 

November 8, 2016

Donald Trump is elected President of the United States.

September 2017

The Los Angeles Sparks begin staying in the locker room during the national anthem in protest. 

December 4, 2019

Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler is appointed to the Georgia Senate by Governor Brian Kemp. Loeffler states that she is pro-life and pro-Trump - a stark contrast to the person the Dream players previously knew her to be.

January 14, 2020

The WNBA Players Association (WNBPA) and the WNBA ratify a groundbreaking new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which guarantees paid maternity leave, childcare stipends, individual hotel accommodations, and a historic compensation raise.

February 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic hits the United States.

February 13, 2020

Ahmaud Arbery is killed by two white men while running in his neighborhood. 

March 12, 2020

The WNBA announces it will postpone the start of its 2020 season, as the NBA makes the historic decision to suspend its 2019-2020 season. 

March 13, 2020

Breonna Taylor is killed in her home by police. 

May 25, 2020

George Floyd is killed by police, sparking outrage and protests all across America. 

June 15, 2020

The WNBA announces it will hold a 22-game season in a bubble at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. 

July 6, 2020

The WNBA announces it will dedicate the 2020 season to social justice and, more specifically, the Say Her Name campaign, to honor women killed by police officers. 

July 7, 2020

Atlanta Dream co-owner and sitting Senator Kelly Loeffler writes an open letter opposing the WNBA’s dedication to social justice. 

July 25, 2020

The first game of the WNBA bubble (known affectionately as the “wubble”) season tips off.

August 4, 2020

Players around the league wear black “Vote Warnock” t-shirts after learning about Raphael Warnock’s candidacy for Loeffler’s Georgia senate seat. In the July 2020 poll, Warnock was sitting around 9%, while Kelly Loeffler was at 26%. 

August 23, 2020

Jacob Blake is shot in the back seven times by police officers. 

August 26, 2020

Players in the NBA and WNBA decide not to play their scheduled games in the aftermath of the Jacob Blake shooting. Elizabeth Williams reads a statement on ESPN explaining the players’ decision. 

August 27, 2020

WNBA players announce they will not take the court on August 27th, and will instead take a day to reflect and double-down on their calls to action and activism. 

August 28, 2020

The WNBA resumes playing the 2020 season.

October 6, 2020

The Seattle Storm win the WNBA Championship, marking the end of the 2020 season. 

November 3, 2020

Warnock earns a run-off election against Loeffler. Warnock earned 32% of the vote, while Loeffler won 26%. 

January 5, 2021

Senator Warnock defeats Loeffler in the run-off election. Warnock becomes Georgia’s first Black senator in history. With this seat flipped, and Warnock’s close running-mate John Ossof’s victory, the Democrats win control of the Senate. 

June 13, 2024

The WNBPA JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Committee announces its new campaign, Keep Bans Off Our Bodies, as the WNBA continues to lead professional sports leagues in activism. Read more about the initiative here