It is unclear whether the W.N.B.A. will sanction Loeffler any further. A spokeswoman for the league declined to comment.
But Loeffler has given no indication that she plans on stepping down as owner. Quite the opposite: On Wednesday night, she told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham that she would not be giving up her ownership stake. She also cited so-called “cancel culture” as the reason for the backlash.
“This isn’t about me,” Loeffler said. “This is about every American’s right to speak out. To enjoy free speech and to support whatever cause and not be canceled. We have this cancel culture that is threatening America and the foundation of it is that Americans are afraid to speak out because of the cancel culture. And I am not going to be silenced by it.”
A former high school basketball player, Loeffler took over ownership of the team, along with the philanthropist Mary Brock, in 2011 — forming a rare all-female ownership group in professional sports.
“It was the opportunity to solve that business challenge,” she told CNN of what drew her to the team, while “being a part of the growing movement towards growth in professional women’s sports.”
In 2013, Loeffler’s name was floated as a possible candidate for an open Senate seat in Georgia to replace the retiring Saxby Chambliss, a Republican. With her wealth and outsider status she was seen as a possible boon to a run. She had also been a longtime donor to Republicans. She ultimately passed on running.
But at the end of last year, when Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia, announced that he was resigning for health reasons, there was another opportunity. Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, appointed Loeffler to the seat, over the objections of President Trump, who preferred Representative Doug Collins — setting up a contentious special election in November. (For this Georgia election, there is no primary. To win, a candidate must get 50 percent of the vote. If no candidate reaches that threshold, the top two candidates have a runoff. The Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, is considered to be the top Democrat in the race.)