A Donald Trump-backed voting law that disproportionately targets Democratic and Black voters which was passed by the Georgia State Legislature last month has cost the city of Atlanta the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
The law, which the former president has suggested would have prevented his narrow loss to President Joe Biden in the battleground state, places restrictions on mail-in voting and prohibits handing out food and water to voters standing in line to cast their ballots, among other things.
“Today, Major League Baseball caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies,” said Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. “Georgians — and all Americans — should fully understand what the MLB’s knee-jerk decision means: cancel culture and woke political activists are coming for every aspect of your life, sports included. If the left doesn’t agree with you, fact and truth do no matter.”
Earlier this week, President Biden told ESPN the law was “Jim Crow on steroids” and said he would “strongly support” pulling the Midsummer Classic, which was set to be held at Truist Park in July, out of Atlanta.
“Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views. I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft,” said MLB commissioner Robert Manfred. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”
Despite moving the game, Manfred said MLB will continue with the league’s plans to celebrate the memory of Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron, who died in January at age 86, during this year’s All-Star festivities.
Even though Aaron will still be honored, the Braves are clearly not happy about losing the game. “This was neither our decision nor our recommendation,” the team said in a statement. “The Braves organization will continue to stress the importance of equal voting opportunities & we had hoped our city could use this event as a platform to enhance the discussion. Unfortunately, businesses, employees and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision.”
David Ralston, a Republican member of the Georgia House of Representatives, joined Governor Kemp and the Braves in attacking MLB’s decision to pull the game. “Stacey Abrams’ leftist lies have stolen the All-Star Game from Georgia, but Georgia will not be bullied by socialists and their sympathizers,” he said in part.
No new site for the All-Star Game or 2021 draft, which was also supposed to be held in Atlanta but has now been yanked too, has been announced. It is unclear if Atlanta would be able to keep the game if the law, SB 202, is repealed.