WNBA players exercise their freedom of expression. In the eyes of Georgia Sen Kelly Loeffler, this means that they are part of ‘cancel culture’.
Prior to Tuesday’s games, several players were seen wearing “Vote Warnock” T-shirts in support of Rev. Raphael Warnock, who fights Loeffler for her Senate seat in a November special election.
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Loeffler, the Dream co-owner, wrote a letter to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert last month expressing her opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement and the competition’s promotion of social justice messages on courts and jerseys. Dream ahead Elizabeth Williams told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne those players publicly discussed wearing “Vote Warnock” T-shirts because “to bring about effective change, there must be policy changes. So if we sit down here and talk about wanting justice reform, that make sure we have officials who understand that. “
“I guess when all these things started to happen to her, we didn’t want to feel like we were pawns,” Williams told Shelburne. “We only have so much control over what the league does [in regard to Loeffler], and so for us, we wanted it to be bigger than that.
“That was pretty much the theme of this season. So we wanted to make sure we could still keep our focus on our social justice movement, and funnily enough, Rev. Warnock is someone who supports everything we support and just happens to walk in that chair. So it just worked really well. “
I am proud and humble by this courageous act of the @WNBA players. Social justice is not a political issue, but a human rights issue. I will continue to assist all athletes as we fight these injustices together. #BlackLivesMatterhttps://t.co/4yF7rLcAFI
– Venerable Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) August 5, 2020
Storm Watch Sue Bird, who was credited by Williams with the original T-shirt idea, told ESPN’s Holly Rowe that wearing a “Vote Warnock” T-shirt is voluntary for WNBA players, but it’s “always great to be united to be.”
“I think we all worked together,” Bird said. “We’re a league that represents more than just basketball, and I think one of the things that really matters to us is voting. I think this is a great way to connect those points between social justice and getting out and voting. “
Sue Bird has shared some insight about players wearing “Vote Warnock” T-shirts today at the games.
Rev. Raphael Warnock challenges Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Co-owner of Atlanta Dream, to her seat in the Senate.
– espnW (@espnW) August 5, 2020
In response to WNBA players who support Warnock, Loeffler has issued a statement, which identified her as a “political outsider and conservative businesswoman.”
“This is just another proof that the out-of-control cancellation culture wants to exclude anyone who disagrees with them,” said Loeffler. “Obviously the league is more concerned with political games than basketball, and I will stick with what I wrote in June.”
Loeffler then reiterated her position against the BLM movement, saying it promotes “radical ideas,” such as “debunk the police and hollow out the nuclear family.” (Loeffler probably refers to this part of the “What We Believe” section on the BLM website: “We are disrupting the nuclear family structure requirement of the West by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ who jointly care for each other, especially for our children, to the extent that mothers, parents and children feel comfortable . “)
To be clear: Loeffler is not ‘canceled’. She expressed her opinion and WNBA players do the same. If they choose to support another candidate, it doesn’t mean Loeffler is suddenly out of the mood.
Despite WNBA players advocating for the removal of Loeffler as a co-owner of the dream, Engelbert said last month that Loeffler will not be forced to sell her share of the franchise. So Loeffler has not lost her position in the organization, her seat in the Senate or her ability to speak out about the things that matter to her.
As is often the case in these situations, the word ‘canceled’ can easily be replaced by ‘faced with the consequences of his or her actions’. WNBA players disagree with Loeffler, so they don’t encourage others to vote for her. They join a candidate with similar views.
That is not ‘canceling culture’. That’s just America.