On Tuesday night the Atlanta Dream and Phoenix Mercury faced off in a totally normal drama-free basketball game in which the Dream lost and nothing else happened. Just kidding, the WNBA doesn’t take a step without first trying to make it something bigger. Upon entering the court at IMG Academy in Florida, both teams sported shirts that said “Vote Warnock,” referencing Raphael Warnock, a Democrat who is running against partial-team owner and full-time Twitter troll Kelly Loeffler for her senate seat, ESPN reports.
Kelly Loeffler isn’t just a senator with questionable ethics, but also part-owner of the Atlanta Dream and who has been openly and vehemently against the WNBA’s support of Black Lives Matter this season. Before the start of the season, Loeffler wrote a strongly worded letter to WNBA Commissioner, Cathy Engelbert, asking that players not be allowed to wear shirts that said Black Lives Matter or kneel during the national anthem. The letter was only mildly successful in that some players did not kneel, instead choosing to walk off the court before the start of the anthem.
Elizabeth Williams, a forward for the Dream, told ESPN that after Loeffler’s letter players wanted to do something bigger than just complain about their owner. Williams said, “We wanted to make sure we could still keep the focus on our social justice movement, and funny enough, Rev. Warnock is somebody who supports everything that we support and just happens to be running in that seat.”
Williams also to ESPN that the idea initially came from Sue Bird, a member of the Seattle Storm. “I’m not some political strategist,” Bird told ESPN in regard to her political strategizing, “but what I do know is that voting is important. And I think our league has always encouraged people to use their voices and to get out and vote. So, what a great way for us to get the word out about this man, and hopefully put him in the Senate. And, if he’s in the Senate, you know who’s not. And I’ll just leave it at that.”
Loeffler who appears to never miss a game or an opportunity to complain about a team she could easily sell to someone else wrote her own protest on Twitter: “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.”
Loeffler seems to be unaware that what she calls cancel culture in this situation is actually called an election, a pillar of democracy in which more than one candidate is able to secure votes. It’s a wild and exciting process that she may have never heard of since she was appointed to her seat by Georgia governor Brian Kemp, to whom she gave $20 million for his re-election campaign. The more you know Kelly!