Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams are avoiding taking a stance on changing the name of the Atlanta Braves after the White House said Monday it supports having a “conversation” about it.
A Warnock aide told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Warnock “knows the Braves organization is in touch with the Native American community and he trusts them to work together on this matter,” while Abrams dodged addressing the issue entirely and instead “said through a spokesman she is rooting for the team to repeat its championship run,” according to the outlet.
Warnock and Abrams, who are both in tight midterms races in battleground Georgia, were pressed on the topic after White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked by a reporter about the “controversial” Atlanta Braves’ name and its popular “tomahawk chop” on Monday.
“We believe that it’s important to have this conversation, and Native American and indigenous voices, they should be at the center of this conversation. That is something that the president believes,” Jean-Pierre said on the same day President Joe Biden was hosting the Braves for winning the World Series.
Jean-Pierre added, “He has consistently emphasized that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. You hear that often from this president. The same is true here and we should listen to Native American and indigenous people who are the most impacted by this.”
Karine Jean-Pierre: "It's important to have this conversation" about changing the name of the Atlanta Braves pic.twitter.com/TCW2Gd0ZG6
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 26, 2022
Major League Baseball took centerstage in Georgia in 2021 after the organization decided to relocate the All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver as a boycott against the state’s newly passed Election Integrity Act.
Abrams, an outspoken voting rights activist who notoriously blamed her 2018 election loss on voter suppression, wrote an op-ed in USA Today ahead of Major League Baseball announcing its decision in which she said she supported boycotts but did not “yet” support relocating the game. After the announcement and amid fierce backlash for not expressly rejecting a move that would deprive Georgia of valuable revenue, USA Today allowed Abrams to revise her op-ed and the Georgia Democrat also put out a statement walking back her initially weaker stance on moving the game.
Warnock at the time evaded taking a firm position on moving the game.
In response to the Atlanta Braves name change discussion, the campaign for Republican Herschel Walker, who is vying to unseat Warnock, blasted changing the name as “ridiculous” and recalled Warnock’s complacency with Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game decision.
Walker spokesman Will Kiley said:
Suggesting the Braves change their name is just as ridiculous as a sitting U.S. Senator not standing up for his state’s businesses and economy in the face of a woke mob. Raphael Warnock failed the people of Georgia last year by not fighting to keep the All-Star Game in Atlanta, and it looks like he is going to sit by and let yet another made-up controversy distract from the real problems of inflation, grocery prices, rising crime, and an open border. Just another day in the life of Georgia’s Do Nothing Senator.
Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who is facing a challenge from Abrams, conveyed his unwavering loyalty to the Braves in a brief statement on social media, writing, “The @Braves should always be the Atlanta Braves. Go Braves and Keep Choppin’!”
The @Braves should always be the Atlanta Braves.
Go Braves and Keep Choppin’! https://t.co/1gtzqCAEQh
— Brian Kemp (@BrianKempGA) September 26, 2022
The Republican Governors Association also chimed in on the issue, saying in a statement, “As the team is celebrating their well-deserved championship, Biden’s push and Abrams’ silence is just another example of how out of touch Celebrity Stacey is with Georgia baseball fans and families.”
Neither Warnock’s nor Abrams’ teams responded to requests for comment from Breitbart News.