Major League Baseball pulled its summer all-star match outside of suburban Atlanta on Friday, in its first major reprimand New Republican-backed election law In Georgia, this particularly limits access to voting in urban areas of the state.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred’s decision came next Days of stress From civil rights groups and the Major League Baseball Players. The measure is likely to put additional pressure on other leading organizations and companies to consider withdrawing business from Georgia, a move that both Republicans and Democrats in the state oppose despite the strong disagreement over the new voting law.
The baseball decision comes as other states close to passing new laws that would restrict voting in their states. In Texas, home to two professional baseball teams, the State Senate He passed a law this week This would limit early voting hours, prevent driving through voting, add new restrictions on absentee voting, and make it illegal for local election officials to send absentee ballot requests to voters, even if they were eligible. In Florida, home to two major league teams, the state legislature has introduced a bill that would severely limit counterfeit funds.
Earlier this week, President Biden Join a growing call to take the game Because of the new voting law he and civil rights groups expected Huge impact on people of color. Georgia law introduced stricter requirements for defining absentee ballots, and limited the use of drop ballots It expanded the legislative authority’s authority over elections.
In a statement, Mr. Manfred said that after talks with teams, players, former stars and players’ union officials, he concluded that “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is to move this year’s All-Star Game and draft MLB.”
Baseball said it is finalizing details on this year’s new all-star locations and draft. The league faced the troubling prospect of its upcoming annual celebration on April 15 for Jackie Robinson to become the first modern black player in the major tournaments, and All-Star Week is dedicated to former Atlanta Braves captain Henry Aaron, while the state’s voting law is widely seen as the targeting of black voters looms large. .
Democrats in Georgia did not call for a boycott of the game, but they were pressing Major League Baseball and other Georgia-based companies to oppose the state’s new voting law.
Stacy Abrams, the honorary leader of the state’s Democrats, said Friday that she is “disappointed” at baseball, but said she is “Proud of their position on voting rights. Senator John Usoff, a Democrat elected in the run-off election in January, said there should be no boycott of Georgia or Georgia corporations, but companies angry at the law should “stop any financial support for the Republican Party in Georgia.”
Many Democratic members of the state legislature likewise opposed the boycott in Georgia. “Stop that county nonsense,” wrote Jane Jordan, the Democratic senator from outside Atlanta. On Twitter last week. “I would rather people and companies use their economic power in this situation for a change than not to come here at all.”
At least one Democratic member of Georgia, Representative Terry Anuljevic, who includes the Cobb County Braves Stadium, has expressed disappointment that he is no longer hosting the match.
Republicans in Georgia have laughed at the prospect of a boycott. After The Coca-Cola Company vetoed the law, David Ralston, Chairman of the State Council, He told reporters that he drank Pepsi, Which is a fad at Coca-Cola dominated by Atlanta.
Mr. Biden, in a televised interview with ESPN before MLB opening day Thursday, said he would “strongly support” the transfer of the All-Star game outside of Atlanta. He described Georgia’s law and similarly restrictive voting bills that Republicans in nearly every state are proposing, “Jim Crow on doping.”
While the NBA has often been at the forefront of pushing progressive politics – it moved its all-star game outside of Charlotte after North Carolina Republicans imposed a “bathroom ban” on transgender people – seldom has baseball made such an important political statement as a classic mid-summer output From Georgia.
In an interview earlier this week with Associated PressManfred, the baseball commissioner has hinted that he is thinking aggressively about moving the game but has refused to make any firm commitments.
Mr. Manfred said at the time: “I am talking to different groups within the game and I will not go beyond that in terms of what I will or may not think.”
MLB Players Association CEO Tony Clark said the federation is ready to discuss pulling out the game, scheduled for July 13 at an hour. Truist Park in the suburb of Cobb County, home of the Atlanta Braves.
James WagonerAnd Kevin Draper And Joe Dreep Contribute to reporting.