The Major League Baseball (MLB) commissioner’s office announced Friday that it was moving its traditional All-Star Game from the city of Atlanta, but did not immediately inform the new headquarters.
The decision to move the midseason classic and collegiate sweepstakes, among other festivities that are part of it, is a forceful response by the league to a new Georgia state voting law that critics say unfairly limits the access to the polls, especially for people of color.
“Over the past week, we have had serious discussions with clubs, past and current players, the Players Association (MLBPA) and the Players Alliance, among others, to hear their views. I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is to relocate the All-Star Game and this year’s MLB Draft, “Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
“MLB fundamentally supports the voting rights of all Americans and opposes restrictions on the polls. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the nonpartisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in involving everyone in shaping America, “Manfred said.
“We proudly use our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities across our country to fulfill their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to be unwaveringly supported by our game. “he added.
“We will continue our plans to celebrate Hank Aaron’s memory during this season’s All-Star Game festivities. Additionally, MLB’s planned investments to support local communities in Atlanta as part of our Legacy All-Star Projects will continue. We are finalizing negotiations with a new host city and details on these events will be announced shortly, “Manfred reported.
“The Atlanta Braves are deeply disappointed by the Major League Baseball decision,” the National League team said in a statement.
“This was not our decision or our recommendation and we are sad that our fans will not be able to see that event in our city. The Braves organization will continue to value the importance of the right to electoral fairness and we were hopeful that the event could serve. platform to increase discussion, “said the team.
“Unfortunately, businesses, employees and fans are the victims of this decision,” they said.
“Players Alliance supports Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game out of the state of Georgia at this crucial time of racial upheaval and inequality,” said Players Alliange, an entity made up of 150 current and former African-American players.
Two years ago, the MLB had awarded the All-Star Game to Atlanta, which opened a new stadium for the Braves, Truist Park, in 2017. It would be the third time, and first since 2000 at Turner Field, that Atlanta received the meeting of the stars.
“Proud to call myself a part of the MLB family,” Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Lebron James wrote on Twitter. James, one of the most influential athletes on the planet, is a minority member of the Boston Red Sox.
“I want to applaud and thank @MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred for moving the All Star Game out of Georgia after the Governor signed the new restrictive voting law A way to be a leader and take a strong stand!” He wrote in his social media wall Earvin “Magic” Johnson, member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and minority owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Last week, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law a law that reforms state elections, which includes new restrictions on voting by mail and gives the legislature more control over how the electoral process is conducted. Voter rights groups have warned that the law disproportionately marginalizes voters of color.
“What worries me is how un-American this whole initiative is. It’s sick. It’s sick,” President Joe Biden said at a news conference after the piece of legislation was enacted.