Major League Baseball appears to be the first major business organization to come down hard against Georgia over its recently-passed voter suppression law.
The new state law – which makes it illegal to give water to voters waiting in line, reduces early voting, and restricts absentee voting, among other things – is being compared to Jim Crow laws.
Georgia was set to host the 2021 All-Star Game along with the 2021 MLB Draft at Truist Park, home to the Atlanta Braves. Both events are being relocated to a yet-to-be-determined location because of the voter suppression law.
According to ESPN:
In a statement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the league is “finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly.” A source told ESPN that the All-Star Game is still planned for Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in 2022 and won’t be moved up to fill the void this summer.
“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 said 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.
“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.”
The Players Alliance – which consists of more than 150 Black professional baseball players – tweeted out their support for MLB’s decision.
We stand in support of @MLB's decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game. pic.twitter.com/ESTh4g4bVj— ThePlayersAlliance (@Player_Alliance) April 2, 2021
Civil rights groups have called for businesses to condemn voter suppression in the Peach State. Major League Baseball’s decision – which comes shortly after Opening Day during the 2021 season – could put pressure on companies like Coca-Cola to respond more forcefully.
Image Credit: SunTrust Park Opening Day 2017, Thechased, Wikipedia