In Protest Of New Georgia Voting Laws, MLB Moves All-Star Game Out Of Atlanta
Despite pulling events from the city of Atlanta, league commissioner Rob Manfred pledged to continue its support of local communities through the All-Star Legacy Projects.
April 02, 2021 at 9:46 pm
Major League Baseball announced on Friday that it's relocating the 2021 All-Star Game and 2021 MLB Draft from Atlanta in protest of the new Georgia laws that have activists, organizations and politicians concerned will lead to the suppression of voter rights.
In a press release, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the league is "finalizing a new host city” and that the league will reveal details about two of its premier events soon. He also underscored that the league is against any measures that would restrict Americans from their civic duty."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."
Last week, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the Republican-endorsed bill that includes new restrictions on voting by mail, according to CNBC. The law, which some people are referring to as a modern version of racist Jim Crow politics, also prohibits the distribution of snacks and water for voters in line.
According to Politico, the new state edict will implement an ID requirement for voters wanting to cast their absentee ballot, decrease the runoff period and limit the number of drop boxes.
Democrats have fervently criticized the law, calling it a means of voter suppression. President Joe Biden condemned the Republican-led action as an “atrocity” last week.
“You don’t need anything else to know that this is nothing but punitive, designed to keep people from voting,” he told reporters.
On the night before the MLB’s Opening Night, President Biden made an appearance on SportsCenter where he confirmed that he would "strongly support" moving the events out of the state due to a law he described as "Jim Crow on steroids."
In response, Gov. Kemp compared the voting policies of Biden’s home state, Delaware, with that of Georgia and said the MLB’s decision to remove the game from Atlanta is unfounded, Politico reports.
“When the president of the United States says something, you know a lot of people pay attention. But what Joe Biden needs to do is look at the side-by-side of Georgia and Delaware,” Kemp said. "He’s focused on trying to get Major League Baseball to pull the game out of Georgia, which is ridiculous.”
ESPN reports that the All-Star Game is still scheduled to be held in Los Angeles in 2022.
"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," Manfred added in his statement. "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.
Manfred went on to say that the "MLB's planned investments to support local communities in Atlanta as part of our All-Star Legacy Projects will move forward,” despite relocating the events in protest.