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WNBA players are wearing ‘Vote Warnock’ shirts for Kelly Loeffler’s opponent in senate race

SB Nation logo SB Nation 8/4/2020 Hector Diaz
a couple of people that are looking at the camera

WNBA players are wearing black t-shirts with the words “Vote Warnock” on it this week to support Raphael Warnock who is running for Senate in Georgia. He is running against incumbent Kelly Loffler, part-owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream and who has been vocal about her opposition to the league’s focus on the Black Lives Matter movement.

While the WNBA discussed ways to highlight social justice prior to the start of the season, Loeffler wrote a letter to commissioner Cathey Englebert expressing her opposition to the idea. WNBA players, who are predominantly Black, called for Loeffler to be ousted as owner of the Atlanta Dream. The league responded by saying that the incumbent senator from Georgia “is no longer involved in day-to-day business.”

The public argument between her and the players gave Loeffler a larger platform to downplay the players’ efforts in highlighting social justice issues, with dog-whistling political rhetoric such as saying the WNBA’s support of Black Lives Matter does not represent “American values.”

According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, the idea of supporting Raphael Warnock’s senate campaign was brought up by Seattle Storm star Sue Bird. The campaign to support Raphael Warnock is voluntary, but entire teams like the Phoenix Mercury and Chicago Sky have worn the shirts before their games.

Elizabeth Williams, who plays for the Atlanta Dream, also wore the shirt and tweeted out her support for Raphael Warnock.

Sue Bird also explained how Loeffler’s public opposition to the league’s Black Lives Matter movement was done to benefit her politically. “But very quickly we started to realize that this was only happening for her political gain. This was something that she wanted. And the more noise we made, whether it was a tweet saying to get her out, that was just playing into her hands.”

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