WNBA players across the league are wearing "Vote Warnock" T-shirts to games this week in support of Rev. Raphael Warnock, who is one of the candidates running for the U.S. senate seat currently occupied by Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler.
Last month, Loeffler, a junior U.S. senator from Georgia, wrote a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Englebert opposing the league's choice to include Black Lives Matter in its social justice initiatives, calling it a "political movement."
Several WNBA players have since called for Sen. Loeffler's removal from the franchise following her comments, but Engelbert has said the league will not push Sen. Loeffler into selling her stake in the team.
According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, the idea to wear shirts supporting one of Sen. Loeffler's opponents in the upcoming Georgia special election race came from Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird.
Bird told ESPN the idea was discussed in recent Zoom calls and is voluntary. Dream forward Elizabeth Williams told ESPN that the league's executive committee started exploring the idea following Sen. Loeffler's statements.
I am honored and humbled by the overwhelming support from the WNBA players," Rev. Warlock said on Twitter. "This movement gives us the opportunity to fight for what we believe in, and I stand by all athletes promoting social justice on and off the court."
“This is just more proof that the out of control cancel culture wants to shut out anyone who disagrees with them,” Sen. Loeffler said in a statement Tuesday. “It’s clear that the league is more concerned with playing politics than basketball, and I stand by what I wrote in June.”
"We are the women of the Atlanta Dream," Dream players said in a July 10 statement. "We are women who support a movement. We are strong and we are fearless. We offer a voice to the voiceless. Our team is united in the Movement for Black Lives. It is not extreme to demand change after centuries of inequality. This is not a political statement. This is a statement of humanity. Black lives matter."
Sen. Loeffler and co-owner Mary Brock bought the team in 2011.
This past January, Sen. Loeffler filled the senate seat vacated by Johnny Isakson, who stepped down after experiencing health problems.
In March, Sen. Loeffler was implicated for potential insider trading for stock trades she made weeks before the coronavirus caused markets to plunge. The Justice Department closed her case in May and she was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The Dream (2–2) face off against the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday night.