Several players wore 'VOTE WARNOCK' shirts in support of one of Loeffler's Democratic challenger.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) complained on Tuesday after several players on the WNBA's Atlanta Dream and Phoenix Mercury wore warm-up shirts emblazoned with "VOTE WARNOCK." Rev. Raphael Warnock is a Democratic challenger running for Senate against Loeffler.
"This is just more proof that the out of control cancel culture wants to shut out anyone who disagrees with them," Loeffler, who is a co-owner of the Dream, said in a statement on Tuesday night. She accused the WNBA of being "more concerned with playing politics than basketball."
Elizabeth Williams, who plays center for the Dream, said that the late Rep. John Lewis was her inspiration for taking a political stand.
"We are @wnba players, but like the late, great John Lewis said, we are also ordinary people with extraordinary vision," Williams tweeted on Tuesday along with a photo of her in a "VOTE WARNOCK" shirt.
Warnock "has spent his life fighting for the people and we need him in Washington. Join the movement for a better Georgia at www.Warnockforgeorgia.com," she added.
Loeffler has been critical of players and the entire WNBA league for publicly supporting the anti-racist Black Lives Matter movement.
In July, Loeffler called on the WNBA to promote the American flag and reject its support for Black Lives Matter, saying the movement had a "political agenda" that "sends a message of exclusion." "We need less — not more politics in sports," she said.
League players have routinely worn shirts supporting Black Lives Matter during the season, but Tuesday was the first time players supported Loeffler's challenger.
Warnock said that he was "honored and humbled by the overwhelming support from the WNBA players" and that Loeffler and those "who seek to silence and dismiss others when they speak up for justice have planted themselves on the wrong side of history."
Some 63% of Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on July 21.
In a Gallup poll released on July 28, 65% of Americans supported anti-racist protests taking place around the country following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.
Loeffler, who was appointed to her position in early 2020, faces a close race in Georgia. She is being challenged by a fellow Republican, Rep. Doug Collins, as well as Warnock and other Democrats.
If none of the candidates garner more than 50% of the vote on Nov. 3, the top two will move on to a runoff election in early January 2021. In two polls released in July, no candidate reached even 30% support.
Cook Political Report lists the race as "Lean Republican."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.