Georgia’s controversial electoral regulation is a key issue within the failed transfer in the direction of legalized sports activities betting

The Atlanta Braves Freddie Freeman, the most respected athlete in Atlanta, said Thursday the … [+] All-Star Game could be a platform to discuss the controversial proxy law that was passed in the Georgian legislature. (Photo by Mary DeCicco / MLB Photos via Getty Images)

MLB photos via Getty Images

After midnight Thursday morning, the clock ticked Republican-led legislation in Georgia that would have allowed voters to amend the state constitution to allow online sports betting. The Republicans who backed the measure didn’t have enough muscle in their own party to get them across the finish line. They needed help from Democrats.

Big chance.

In the first, and possibly not the last, blow to the state’s sports economy, Democrats refused to stand behind efforts to legalize betting and gambling as the Republican majority passed incriminating SB 202 on March 25. This legislation, 202, is a major overhaul of state suffrage that Democrats and civil rights activists insist on disenfranchising black voters. SB202 was known as Jim Crow 2.0 and refers to the disenfranchisement of blacks after the civil war.

State Senator Elena Parent (D-Decatur) said: “There were members of the House Democratic Conference who took a stand saying they would not support sports betting until the professional sports teams and other companies that wanted to vote against SB 202 pronounced. The elections rewrite the bill. “

The gambling legislation that would have prepared the measure for a nationwide referendum was supported by all four professional teams, the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta United. But the four teams had what SB 202 opponents considered a lukewarm response to the Republican election overhaul.

There could be more losses. Major League Baseball is urged to leave Atlanta to host the 2021 All-Star Game. The NCAA and other sports associations are certainly asked not to plan events in a city that has made sports tourism a thriving industry. The NBA owes Atlanta a full-fledged All-Star game, not this season’s Covid-19 version, but will Black’s leadership in the league allow it?

Only the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream condemned the bill as discriminatory and as a Republican effort to silence the black Georgians whose turnout won the state for President Joe Biden and to disgruntled victories in two U.S. Senate races by Democrat Jon Ossoff and led by Raphael Warnock.

“We are firmly against the Election Integrity Act of 2021,” wrote the Atlanta Dream on social media. “This far-reaching legislation is directed negatively against black Georgians and other color voters, which further increases inequalities and systemic racism.”

In a statement, the Georgia NAACP asked the Black Caucus to oppose the Gambling / Betting Act as Senate Act 202 passed, which the NAACP and many other organizations say will severely restrict blacks’ voting rights.

The Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta United wanted the betting bill because it could take their dedication to fans to a whole new level. The teams stepped up and created a website to push for legalized sports betting.

Michael Cunningham, a sports columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, wrote in a column Wednesday that he suspected that Atlanta pro-franchises were unwilling to overturn the electoral law. SB 202 has to do with the attempt to pass the betting law.

Now the teams don’t have the legislation they wanted and a lot of angry fans are left behind.

The teams insist that they support voting, but they didn’t push the Republicans back until the restrictive bill was passed. When they did speak up, the response was muted, which was surprising given that the majority of the players for the Hawks, Falcons, and United are black or colored athletes. The Braves’ reaction was less of a surprise given their mostly white fan base.

“The right to vote is the most basic civil right, and we at the Hawks see ourselves as a civil good – not a partisan organization – and we continue to work to support steps that promote equality and encourage participation for all who want to cast a vote. ” said Tony Ressler, the team’s main owner.

The Hawks were major campaigners last fall and opened the State Farm Arena as a polling station. But the black leaders wanted the club to speak out strongly against the vote and not make a lukewarm statement a week after the law came into force.

Arthur Blank, the owner and chairman of the Atlanta Falcons, who is a very active advocate for civil rights, was also unwilling to violently denounce SB 202.

“Every voice and every voice is important. The right to vote is just sacred. We should work to make voting easier and not more difficult for every eligible citizen, ”Blank said in a statement. “Our Business and Family Foundation will continue to actively support efforts to make voting easier for the citizens of Georgia and the nation as a whole.”

There is a single piece of SB 202 that particularly angered civil rights groups. Long lines can form in high density areas where there are not enough polling stations, and Republicans made it a crime in SB 202 to offer food or drink to voters in line. The Republicans also allowed lawmakers to remove local election officials.

It remains to be seen what further effects the law regulating voting will have on the sports industry in Georgia in the coming year. Atlanta has offered itself as the “sports capital” of the USA for hosting many events, from the Super Bowl to the Final Four to the College Football Playoffs. Leagues, professionals and amateurs, however, are sensitive to discrimination issues.

In 2017, the NBA removed their all-star game from Charlotte after the state took measures to curtail protection for the LGBT community. Tony Clark, Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, invites you to discuss whether to play the 2021 MLB All-Star Game on July 13 in Georgia at Truist Park, home of the Braves.

On Thursday, hours before the Braves’ opening game in Philadelphia, team leader Freddie Freeman was asked if the All-Star game should be postponed to support the cause of black voters.

“It’s a conversation to be had,” Freeman said. “If we keep it in Atlanta, you can do something about this situation. Or, if we move it, it’s up to Tony Clark and the (union) executive subcommittee and something. But we’ll see what happens in the next few months. “

Atlanta lost millions in revenue in 2020 as the Final Four and Division I three college football games were canceled due to the pandemic, among other things. Could there be any further cancellations due to the Voting Rights Act? Dan Corso, president of the Atlanta Sports Council, did not respond to a request for comment.

The Sports Council and teams are trying to weather a storm they see as political while many others see it as a civil rights issue for black Georgians. You will not denounce SB 202 because of the partisan policy. Their employees – black athletes – may oust them or perhaps denounce SB 202 from large corporations. Delta Airlines, based in Atlanta, finally issued a final statement against the bill this week after much back and forth.

It’s safe to say that the 2021 All-Star Game isn’t the only event at risk. The gambling / betting action was the first to be put down. It could do more arithmetic.