Rob Schaefer

WNBA players wear ‘Vote Warnock’ shirts in continued stand against Kelly Loeffler

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WNBA players wear ‘Vote Warnock’ shirts in continued stand against Kelly Loeffler

In a show of support to Raphael Warnock, a Democratic challenger for Kelly Loeffler’s (R) Senate seat in Georgia, players across the WNBA donned T-shirts that read “Vote Warnock” Tuesday afternoon.

Loeffler, who owns a partial share in the Atlanta Dream and was officially appointed the junior United States Senator from Georgia by Governor Brian Kemp in January, penned a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert in July voicing opposition to the league’s plans to honor the Black Lives Matter movement throughout its season. Her seat is up for grabs in a special election set to be held Nov. 3.

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Here’s a look at the Sky, who sported the shirts both in advance of and following the team’s fifth game of the season, an 82-79 victory over the Dallas Wings. 

“It’s very clear, we’re an incredible league that has always been very vocal,” Courtney Vandersloot said in a Zoom conference after the game. “We have 80 percent Black women who are absolutely amazing and if you feel so strongly about them, why are you even associated with the WNBA? That part I don’t understand. We don’t need you. And that’s that.”

Dream forward Elizabeth Williams personally tweeted out her support for Warnock.

 

After Loeffler’s letter to Engelbert, players across the league were swift and universal in condemning her; in a tweet, the WNBPA joined its constituents by publicly calling for Loeffler to vacate her post with the Dream. The WNBA then said in a statement that Loeffler was “no longer involved in the day-to-day business of the team” and hadn’t served as the Dream’s Governor since October 2019.

 

Loeffler doubled down on her opposition to Black Lives Matter in an interview with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne in late July, saying she has no intention of selling her stake in the Dream. She tripled down Tuesday in a statement:

But a league notorious for leading the charge in athlete advocacy on issues of social justice presented a unified front Tuesday.

“It was important to me (to wear the shirt) because my teammates wanted me to wear it,” Cheyenne Parker said in her postgame Zoom availability, though she added that she isn’t fully acquainted with Warnock’s politics. “The whole point in us wearing this is to try to get the partial owner of Atlanta out of office. That was the whole point. 

“Obviously I support that because she doesn’t stand for what this league stands for. So whatever it takes to get her displaced and removed, I’m willing to participate in it. I don’t know much about Warnock, but I wore the shirt for my team.”

Giannis' Antetokounmpo's son Liam sports Michael Jordan Bulls onesie as virtual fan

Giannis' Antetokounmpo's son Liam sports Michael Jordan Bulls onesie as virtual fan

The Bulls will enter the fall (winter?) of 2020 fairly inflexible from a roster standpoint. But it's never too soon to look ahead to a loaded free agent class in 2021.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George own opt-outs that offseason. Anthony Davis could maneuver his complex contract situation to free himself up, too. And the class is set to be headlined by soon-to-be two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bulls, for their part, are projected to have a wealth of cap room to toy with — coronavirus complications pending.

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Now, as it stands, the Bulls' rebuild probably isn't at a point to consider any of the above, or other top-line targets, realistic options. But even the shadow of a chance that a player like Giannis might make the trip down I-94 to Chicago is enough to get fans salivating and graphic-designers whirring. Especially on the heels of the summer of "The Last Dance."

This should inspire a bit of buzz, too:

That's right. Giannis' new-born son Liam was spotted in virtual attendance of the Bucks' Tuesday afternoon seeding game against the Nets. And he was clad in a Michael Jordan Bulls onesie.

So, we know where the family stands. Whether dad follows suit remains to be seen. The watch is on.

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Bears, Bulls and Cubs all in top 20 of Forbes’ most valuable sports teams

Bears, Bulls and Cubs all in top 20 of Forbes’ most valuable sports teams

Forbes released its annual sports team value rankings on Friday. Three Chicago teams made the cut: the Bears, Bulls and Cubs.

The Bears checked in at No. 13 with an estimated value of $3.45 billion, making it the sixth-most valuable NFL franchise behind the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers — quite the return on investment for the reported $100 the McCaskey family bought the team for in 1920.

Meanwhile, the Bulls and Cubs tied at No. 17 with twin $3.2 billion valuations. Jerry Reinsdorf and a group of investors purchased the Bulls for $16.2 million in 1985; the Ricketts family purchased the Cubs for $700 million in 2009.

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By Forbes’ calculations, that makes the Bulls and Cubs the fourth-most valuable franchises in their respective sports. In the NBA, the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors registered higher valuations than the Bulls. The New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox checked in ahead of the Cubbies.

All three Chicago teams gained value over the course of the year. In Forbes’ 2019 rankings, the Bulls and Bears were valued at $2.9 billion, and the Cubs at $3.1 billion.

The NFL boasted 27 teams in Forbes’ top 50, by far the most of any sports league (the Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans were the only clubs not represented). The NBA was second with nine.

And with three teams listed, Chicago tied with San Francisco and Boston as the third-most represented markets in the top 50. New York, with six teams, was first in that category; Los Angeles, with five, was second.