MLB pulls Atlanta All-Star Game in response to Georgia’s new voting law

Major League Baseball is moving the 2021 All-Star Game and the 2021 draft out of Atlanta in response to the Georgia controversy. new voting law, the league announced on Friday.

“I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values ​​as a sport is by relocating the All-Star Game and this year’s MLB Draft,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports the voting rights of all Americans and opposes restrictions on the polls.”

Discussions about moving the game emerged after Georgia recently passed a strict new voting law, which critics say is designed to disenfranchise voters of color. It requires a photo ID in order to vote by absentee ballot, which was done by more than 1.3 million Georgia voters during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new law limited mailbox locations and the time voters have to request an absentee ballot. It also prohibits the delivery of food and water to voters within 150 feet of a polling place or 25 feet from any voter in line – a particularly controversial provision, as there are often longer lines to vote in disproportionately black precincts.

Manfred’s decision came two days after President Biden endorsed moving the game out of Atlanta in an interview with ESPN.

“I think professional athletes today are acting incredibly responsible. I would strongly support them in doing that. People look at them. They are leaders,” Biden said. The president has called Georgia’s new law “Jim Crow on steroids.”

However, some Georgia Democrats expressed disappointment at the measure. The All-Star Game is one of the league’s major events and the city of Atlanta will lose considerable financial gain. Cities past have seen as much as $ 60 million in economic increases, according to data from the Baseball Almanac.

“Like many Georgians, I am disappointed that MLB is relocating its All-Star game; however, I congratulate the league’s players, owners and commissioner for speaking out. I urge others in leadership positions to do so as well,” he said Stacey Abrams. , one of the state’s leading Democrats and a voting rights activist.

Senator Raphael Warnock called the move “the unfortunate consequence” of passing the law.

Meanwhile, Georgia Republicans are not backing down. In a press conference on Saturday, Governor Brian Kemp condemned the “cancellation of culture” as the root of Manfred’s decision.

“Safe and accessible elections are worth the threats. The boycotts and lawsuits are worth it. I want to be clear: I will not back down from this fight,” Kemp said. “What are they going to do if the Braves make the playoffs? Are they going to move the fucking playoff game? Are they going to move it to other states with more restrictions than we have?”

The measure was also criticized by former President Trump, who in a statement asked his followers to “boycott baseball and all the companies that have woken up and that are interfering with free and fair elections.”

The league has yet to announce a new host city, but said the decision is in the process of being finalized. The All-Star Game is scheduled for July 13 and will still pay tribute to baseball legend Hank Aaron.

Khristopher J. Brooks contributed reporting.


Source link