MLB strikes its all-star sport out of Atlanta

Proponents of the Georgian law say the changes it is making to the state’s electoral system are necessary to build confidence in elections. Opponents, including many high profile activist groups, say this will result in longer queues, partisan scrutiny of the elections, and more difficult logistics for voters trying to cast their ballots in the mail.

They say the goal of the law is to make it harder for people of color to vote, which Democrats see as a direct response to the November presidential and senate election result. Led by large numbers of black voters, the majority voting for Joe Biden, the state voted for a Democrat in a presidential race for the first time in nearly two decades, and eventually elected two Democrats to the Senate.

A week after the bill was signed, the Republican-led vote in Georgia has been criticized by a growing number of supporters of voting rights. (Mahlia Posey / The Washington Post)

As of Friday afternoon, MLB was the youngest major company to occupy a position.

“Over the past week we have had thoughtful conversations with clubs, past and current players, the Players Association and the Players Alliance to hear their views. I’ve decided that the best way to demonstrate our values ​​as a sport is to move this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft, “MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes ballot box restrictions,” he added. “We are proud to have used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities in our country to fulfill their civic duties and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to be steadfastly supported by our game. “

Dave Roberts, manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of the majors’ two black managers, said he was supportive of the move.

“I’m not familiar with everything, but the main takeaway from the bill was to suppress voting for people of color,” said Roberts. “And I fundamentally and fundamentally disagree with that.”

Support for the move has not been universal in baseball, particularly in Atlanta, where the Braves were quick to make a statement that they were “deeply disappointed” with the decision.

“This was neither our decision nor our recommendation and we are sad that the fans cannot see this event in our city. The Braves organization will continue to emphasize the importance of equal choice and we had hoped that our city could use this event as a platform to improve the discussion, ”the statement said. “Our city has always been known as a unity in times of conflict and we will miss the opportunity to address issues that are important to our community. Unfortunately, companies, employees and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision. “

Georgian lawmakers and public figures on Friday expressed anger, disappointment and approval in their responses to the announcement.

Freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) Said MLB must “stop listening to their communist corporate sponsors and remember the little people who buy their tickets”.

“Keep politics off the field and stop ruining everything!” she tweeted.

“Given @MLB’s stance on undermining electoral integrity laws, I have directed my staff to begin drafting laws to remove the Major League Baseball antitrust exemption,” he wrote.

Former Georgia governor and suffrage campaigner Stacey Abrams had mixed feelings about the move.

“Disappointed @MLB will postpone the all-star game but proud of their stance on voting rights,” Abrams tweeted. “GA GOP exchanged economic options for oppression.”

Abrams added that she called on events and productions to “come and speak or stay and fight” on behalf of people of color who now wanted to lose wages due to boycotts.

Newly elected Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) Took a similar stance in a statement his office made Thursday. He opposed all of these boycotts and suggested that companies stop supporting the Republican Party. Several baseball owners regularly contribute to Republican and Democratic candidates, as does the MLB’s Political Action Committee.

“I absolutely reject and reject any thought of boycotting Georgia. Georgia welcomes businesses, investments, jobs, opportunities and events. In fact, economic growth is driving much of the political progress we’ve seen here, ”Ossoff said. “Georgia welcomes the world’s business. Corporations disgusted, as we do with the nefarious Voter Suppression Act, should stop funding the Republican Party of Georgia, which is abusing its power to make it harder for Americans to vote. “

MLB put all political donations on hold following the January 6th invasion of the Capitol, but the decision to postpone the All-Star game is still a surprise.

Compared to other professional sports leagues like the NBA and WNBA, baseball has avoided being the focus of politicized issues. Last year MLB deviated from that course when they decided to paint a tribute to Black Lives Matter on the back of his pitcher’s mound after George Floyd was killed by police – a small but noteworthy statement from a largely white league, the problems had been building attractiveness and a sense of belonging for black players in recent years.

“I’m proud to be part of the @mlb family @morethanavote #BlackLivesMatter today,” tweeted NBA star LeBron James, who campaigned for the suffrage ahead of the November elections and officially Boston this week Red Sox Ownership Group joined.

James and Michael Tyler led athletes to form the More Than a Voter proxy last year. Tyler said the financial impact of the All-Star Game “will be real,” but noted that boycotting other companies over a long period would likely be more devastating than losing a few days of events.

“This is the best example we have right now to demonstrate to lawmakers considering these bills in other states – states like Texas, Florida, and Arizona – that their actions, if they adhere to these rules, will have consequences “said Tyler, who helped players and organizers use last month’s NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta to speak out against bills they believed would restrict voting rights.

“A boycott is clearly a sub-optimal situation,” he added. “In a perfect world, such measures would not be necessary at all.”

MLB has not announced a replacement location. The Dodgers were supposed to host the game last year but missed their assigned round when it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. MLB made the game available as a replacement in 2022, but was able to choose Los Angeles, which will likely be better prepared than a city that didn’t expect a venue.