A look at the numbers shows why the antagonism exists. The WNBA players and fans are simply on a different political planet than Loeffler. Additionally, Loeffler almost certainly sees political benefit to the fight.
When you examine the fan base of the WNBA, you can see that the WNBA doesn’t really need to fret losing fans taking up left-leaning causes.
A look across polls and studies reveals that WNBA fans are much more likely than the general population to be in groups that lean Democratic. WNBA fans are more likely to be women, have college degrees and be Black adults. In fact, the limited data that we do have suggests that more WNBA fans lean Democratic than any of the major male professional sport leagues (e.g. MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL).
Loeffler, meanwhile, is a conservative Republican. More than that, she has an election this year. Loeffler is involved in a very competitive jungle primary in which all candidates of all parties will face off against each other. The top two candidates will advance to a runoff, unless one candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in round one.
Chances are that either Collins or Loeffler will advance to the runoff, not both. Whoever appeals most to Republicans will move forward to that runoff.
Loeffler is a fish out of water when it comes to the WNBA’s normally liberal ways. She stands to benefit from opposing them.