Major League Baseball announced Friday that it would be relocating its widespread all-star game and league design out of the city of Atlanta. The move is a protest against a recently signed Republican law in the Georgian legislature that will restrict access to voting.
“Over the past week we have had thoughtful discussions with clubs, past and current players, the Players Association and the Players Alliance, among others, to hear their views,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement to ESPN. “I’ve decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is to move this year’s All-Star game and this year’s MLB draft.”
The commissioner said the league “fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes ballot box restrictions.”
Last week, the state’s Republican-controlled government passed a bill containing a series of provisions that experts say will make voting difficult for people in dense urban areas. This population tends to be disproportionately democratic and black.
Legal requirements include strict new ID requirements, a reduced time window for requesting postal ballot papers, and a ban on election officials sending postal ballot papers to all voters. One part makes it a potential offense to offer food or water to people queuing at polling stations.
In the 2020 election, President Biden beat Donald Trump in Georgia by just under 12,000 votes, and the state sent two Democrats to the Senate for the first time in decades. Many attributed the historic turnout of blacks, and the electorate’s efforts endorsed Stacey Abrams, a black woman and ex-gubernatorial candidate who enrolled thousands of new voters before the contest.
After the 2020 contest, the state became the scene of nationwide Republican conspiracies over the essentially non-existent phenomenon of electoral fraud, despite multiple recounts and re-examinations of Georgia’s election results.
Mr Trump repeatedly tried to pressure Georgia election officials to change the outcome, urging Republican Secretary of State of Georgia Brad Raffensperger to provide more information on him in a taped phone call currently under investigation by Atlanta prosecutors Voices to “find”.
Although there is now a high percentage of Latino players, Major League Baseball has traditionally been viewed as slightly more conservative and whiter than other professional sports leagues in the United States. The owners have worked together for decades to keep teams from signing black players. Today, according to an analysis by ESPN, MLB team owners have donated the most of all major US professional sports leagues.
Thanks to the growing influence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the athletes who use their platform to speak out on social justice issues, leagues like the MLB have become more proactive in recognizing the broader political context that you are in Sport is practiced.
At the start of the 2020 season, the league stamped BLM for Black Lives Matter on the thrower’s mound in the opening match, and the players wore BLM patches on their jerseys. It was the first time the logo was allowed on the field.