West Virginia football legend Saban signs letter to Manchin in support of voting rights legislation

Manchin supports the legislation but not changes to Senate rules essentially allowing it to pass by a simple majority

Updated: January 19, 2022 - 11:30am

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Alabama head football coach Nick Saban has signed a letter with three other West Virginia sports legends to Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin emphasizing their support for the Democratic Party's voting rights legislation now on Capitol Hill. 

The January 13 letter is signed by Saban, NBA legend Jerry West and former West Virginia University Mountaineers players and National Football League stars Oliver Luck and Darryl Talley. The letter also was signed by former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

"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," reads the letter. "But we are all certain that democracy is best when voting is open to everyone on a level playing field; the referees are neutral; and at the end of the game the final score is respected and accepted." 

Manchin has said he supports the legislation but is opposed to changing Senate filibuster rules that would essentially allow it to pass with a simple majority in the evenly split 50-50 chamber, instead of with the 60 vote majority.

He and fellow Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, of Arizona, are opposed to the filibuster change, denying Senate Democrats the 50 votes they need to make the change and pass the legislation. 

Saban reportedly asked that the letter include a footnote clarifying that he not in favor of getting rid of the filibuster, but the letter being made public shows no such addendum.