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Nick Saban, Jerry West, Darryl Talley among West Virginia sports figures in letter to Sen. Joe Manchin

Former graduates of West Virginia, along with high-profile sports figures with ties to West Virginia, including Nick Saban, Jerry West, Oliver Luck, Darryl Talley and Paul Tagliabue have written a letter to Sen. Joe Manchin in favor of The Freedom to Vote Act. 

Manchin has recently voiced his opposition against newly introduced voting rights legislation, known as The Freedom to Vote Act, introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). 

The high profile letter to Manchin was reported on Tuesday by Elizabeth Crisp of Newsweek.

The letter states, “we strongly support urgently needed legislation that will protect both the rights of voters and the integrity of outcomes in all Federal elections. The Freedom to Vote Act, which you sponsored with Committee Chair Senator Klobuchar and other colleagues, effectively addressed these goals. Now we also support your leadership in shaping legislation to secure our democracy by protecting election integrity, principled Presidential transitions and our national security during transitions.” 

Saban, the current head coach of Alabama football, has won seven national championships, the most of any coach. Saban is a native West Virginian, attending Monongah High School. West, an NBA Hall of Famer,  graduated from West Virginia University in 1960 and is the inspiration for the current logo of the National Basketball Association, currently works for the Los Angeles Lakers. Luck was the former athletic director at WVU and is also a member of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame. Talley graduated WVU in 1983 and he went on to play in the NFL. Tagliabue is the former NFL Commissioner and is also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

The letter continues, “We come from some of our Nation’s most popular sports leagues, conferences and teams. Some of us have roots and shaped our lives in West Virginia, others followed very different paths and some of us have been rivals in sports or business.” 

The letter was also sent to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY); the two stated goals are to ensure “elections open to all Americans,” and “impartial conduct and score-keeping.” 

The group says they hope to find support from other prominent figures to advance their efforts. 

“To complement your efforts to have the Senate enact balanced and widely supported legislation, we will encourage others in sports, business and other endeavors to join with us in endorsing the concepts set forth in this letter. We appreciate the opportunity to participate in this manner.”

Photo by Patrick Smith, Getty Images

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