WNBA players wear ‘Vote Warnock’ shirts in support of Loeffler Democratic challenger
Players around the WNBA are wearing shirts in support of one of Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s (R-Ga.) — a co-owner of the league’s Atlanta Dream — Democratic challengers in Georgia’s special Senate election in November.
The black t-shirts read “Vote Warnock,” referring to Rev. Raphael Warnock, one of three main opponents that Loeffler will face on Election Day.
This is the latest in the ongoing feud between the league and Loeffler, who was specially appointed to the Senate in late 2019 by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) to fill the vacancy left by former Sen. Johnny Isakson (R). At the beginning of July, the senator wrote to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert, expressing her displeasure with the league’s plan to show solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement.
“The truth is, we need less—not more politics in sports. In a time when polarizing politics is as divisive as ever, sports has the power to be a unifying antidote,” Loeffler wrote at the time. “And now more than ever, we should be united in our goal to remove politics from sports.”
Players around the WNBA have been wearing warmup jerseys that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name,” a reference to Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT who was killed by police in her own home in Louisville, Ky., in March.
Loeffler later reiterated her stance to Fox News’s Laura Ingraham.
“[Black Lives Matter] is a very divisive organization based on marxist principles,” Loeffler said. “This is an organization that seeks to destroy the American principles and I had to draw the line.”
She added: “There’s no room in this country for racism, but this isn’t what the Black Lives Matter political organization is about.”
On Tuesday, the Chicago Sky tweeted “Don’t boo…VOTE,” a phrase that has become popular Democratic phrase after former President Barack Obama said in during a speech at the party’s 2016 national convention.
— Chicago Sky (@chicagosky) August 4, 2020
Atlanta Dream forward Elizabeth Williams told ESPN that the idea to wear the shirts has been in the works since Loeffler first spoke out.
“For effective change to happen, there has to be policy changes. And so if we’re going to sit here and talk about wanting justice reform, part of that is making sure that we have officials in office that understand that,” she said.
Despite the player’s support for Warnock, Loeffler’s toughest challenger is fellow Georgia GOP lawmaker Rep. Doug Collins. A Monmouth poll from late July showed Loeffler with a six-point lead over Collins, though previous polls have shown Collins in front.
President Trump had recommended to Kemp late last year that he appoint Collins to fill the Senate seat, but the governor chose Loeffler instead, emphasizing her business credentials and outsider status as reasons for her appointment.
The Hill has reached out to Loeffler’s office for comment.
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