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WNBA players urge people to vote against U.S. senator who co-owns Atlanta Dream

Members of the Phoenix Mercury, left, and Sparks stand for a moment of silence in honor of Breonna Taylor.
Members of the Phoenix Mercury, left, and Sparks stand for a moment of silence in honor of Breonna Taylor on July 25 in Ellenton, Fla.
(Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)

WNBA players are urging people to vote against Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler, a Republican U.S. senator running to keep her seat in Georgia.

Loeffler, who spoke out publicly against the league’s social justice plans and sent a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert objecting to the initiatives to honor the Black Lives Matter movement once the season began last month, is facing opposition from Raphael Warnock. He is a Black pastor in Atlanta.

Players from the Atlanta team, as well as players from the Seattle Storm, Chicago Sky and Phoenix Mercury, wore “Vote Warnock” on T-shirts before their games on Tuesday.

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Storm point guard Sue Bird, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, came up with the idea, and players had conference calls with Warnock before the show of support.

Dream forward Elizabeth Williams talked about the decision during a Zoom call Wednesday.

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“It was something we talked through and wanted to be strategic, intentional about our words and language,” the Dream’s captain said. ”We wanted to make sure whatever action was taken that we felt like in doing so all the ideas we had been focused on weren’t lost.”

Williams, who is registered to vote in Georgia, said that wearing the shirts was optional and that she thought the teams playing Wednesday night would also wear them.

Loeffler blasted the league in a statement Tuesday night, decrying what she calls “cancel culture.”

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“This is just more proof that the out of control cancel culture wants to shut out anyone who disagrees with them. It’s clear that the league is more concerned with playing politics than basketball,” she said.

Warnock issued a statement in response to the support.

“Senator Loeffler and those like her who seek to silence and dismiss others when they speak up for justice have planted themselves on the wrong side of history,” Warnock said. “We are in a moment of generational, transformative change, and there is no place in that movement for bigotry. We celebrate the courage and resolve of these players standing for justice, and I am proud to stand with them.”


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