#WVotes2020: WNBA players wearing T-shirts backing Raphael Warnock – a challenger to Kelly Loeffler’s Senate seat

Photo Credit: Paras Griffin/Getty Images


Georgia senator and Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler has made her views on Black Lives Matter well-known over the past few months.

And WNBA players have made their views well-known about the Dream’s co-owner-turned Peach State politico.

This week, WNBA players are wearing shirts with the words “Vote Warnock” inscribed on them. The “Warnock” in question is Rev. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta – and one of the challengers for Loeffler’s seat.

Elizabeth Williams – one of the Dream’s players – said to ESPN that she and other Dream players did not want to discuss Loeffler much and, instead, wanted to emphasize support for a candidate whose views are more in line with those of Williams and others.

She said the Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird initially came up with the idea. The ESPN story also hinted that Layshia Clarendon (New York Liberty) also was involved.

That’s kind of the theme of this season. So we wanted to make sure we could still keep the focus on our social justice movement, and funny enough, Reverend Warnock is somebody who supports everything that we support and just happens to be running in that seat. So it just worked out really well.

–Elizabeth Williams, Atlanta Dream (ESPN)

This was a situation where given what was said in regards to the owner of Atlanta, and how, basically, she came out against a lot of what the women in our league stand for, I think was emotionally tough for a lot of the women in our league to hear that.

–Sue Bird, Seattle Storm (ESPN)

But very quickly we started to realize that this was only happening for her political gain.

–Sue Bird, Seattle Storm (ESPN)

Angel McCoughtry, now with the Las Vegas Aces and formerly with the Dream echoed similar sentiments in a pre-season virtual call with reporters.

We want people in office who support the same values and morals as we do. Rev. Warnock is pro criminal justice reform, for LGBT+ rights, and pro choice/reproductive rights. Those are the kind of people we want representing us, because that’s what our league stands for.

–Layshia Clarendon, New York Liberty (ESPN)

Clarendon is a member of the WNBA/WNBPA Social Justice Council as is Liberty CEO Keia Clarke.

If Warnock is to be elected to Loeffler’s seat, he faces an uphill climb per a July poll of the Georgia senate race. Monmouth’s latest poll shows Loeffler leading with 26% and Doug Collins, representative of Georgia’s ninth district at 20%.

The leading Democrat in the race is not Warnock, but Matt Lieberman (son of former vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman) at 14%. Warnock is at 9% overall and Lieberman has 24% among Black voters to 17% for Warnock – and 14% for Loeffler with 28% of Black voters undecided.

Joe Biden is at a 47-47 tie in Georgia in the same poll.

A recent poll of the race hints that Warnock may have received a WNBA poll bounce based on players wearing the “Vote Warnock” tees. The latest poll shows him second at 23% behind Doug Collins’ 26% with Loeffler standing at 21%.

Lieberman is at 13% and is facing increasing calls (including from the Georgia NAACP) for him to drop out of the race because of a novel he wrote said to contain racial overtones. According to a HuffPost report, the novel mentions a character who he believed once owned an imaginary slave and used racial epithets.

His dropping out would also consolidate the Democratic vote behind Warnock potentially enough to vault him into the lead – and a possible runoff.

November 3rd. Mail-in/Absentee. Early. In-person.


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