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Layshia Clarendon and the power of the ballot as well as the ball

Atlanta Dream v New York Liberty Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Once the Rev. Raphael Warnock defeated Sen. Kelly Loeffler Tuesday, one of the first to congratulate the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church was Liberty point guard Layshia Clarendon, one of the WNBA’s leading social justice advocates...

She also thanked those who helped Warnock...

...and took joy in her partner’s tweet celebrating Loeffler’s defeat.

The victory in the Georgia senate run-off race was particularly sweet for Clarendon, who had previously played for the Atlanta Dream which Loeffler, the richest member of the U.S. Senate, is part owner.

As Sarah Valenzuela of the Daily News wrote Wednesday, Loeffler decided early on to run against the WNBA’s support for social justice issues.

Loeffler, currently still a co-owner of the Atlanta Dream, drew the ire of her team and the league when she penned a letter to Commissioner Cathy Engelbert asking the W not to support the Black Lives Matter movement, which she said was “political” and “different from saying Black Lives matter.” This was after the league announced its plans to wear “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name” shirts and post similar signage on the courts...

“I adamantly oppose the Black Lives Matter political movement. I believe it is totally misaligned with the values and goals of the WNBA and the Atlanta Dream, where we support tolerance and inclusion.”

And Clarendon, the 29-year-old veteran signed as a back-up and mentor to Sabrina Ionescu, has been along with MVP Breanna Stewart the leader in the WNBA social justice movement and worked with Georgia Democrats to get Warnock elected. Over the weekend, the Dream players even donned shirts supporting Warnock...

Clarendon is active on social media. In the past several days, she’s taken to Twitter to call for the removal of President Trump after the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol.

...And suggested that if the insurrectionists were black, they would’ve been treated differently.

Clarendon, in fact, was named the Daily News the face of athlete activism in 2020, a year filled with activism across many sports.

“The W is the movement,” Clarendon said when the WNBA decided to gather in Bradenton for the “wubble.”. “It’s where this country is going. It’s where progressive and forward-thinking folks are looking to.”

On Opening Night, it was Clarendon who stepped up and stated that the WNBA season would be dedicated to the memory of Breonna Taylor who was killed by Metro Louisville Police on March 13.

“Breonna Taylor was dedicated and committed to uplifting everyone around her,” Clarendon said that night. “We are also dedicating this season to the Say Her Name campaign, a campaign committed to saying the names and fighting for justice for Black women. Black women who are so often forgotten in this fight for justice who do not have people marching in the streets for them. We will say her name. ... we will be a voice for the voiceless.”

Then all players and coaches took a 26-second moment of silence, the age Taylor was when she was killed.

Clarendon’s role with the Liberty will be reduced this year (after his best statistical season last year.) Ionescu will be back and healthy. She is unlikely to step back from her social justice role.