Black ExperienceSportsStacy M. Brown

MLB Pulls All-Star Game, Draft from Atlanta Because of New Georgia Voting Law

Elections and the actions of lawmakers do have consequences.

And because of a strict new voting law signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, Major League Baseball announced Friday it would move its 2021 All-Star Game and draft from Atlanta.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made the decision after Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark and some prominent players and managers expressed doubts about attending the game.

Last month, Kemp signed Republican-led legislation that disenfranchises many voters of color. Georgia’s new law adds guidelines around mail-in ballots, voter registration and provides state officials more authority over how elections are conducted.

“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 a 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,” he said.

As reported recently at BlackPressUSA.com, moving the game from Atlanta could cost the city and local counties as much as $200 million in revenue.

The host Atlanta Braves were expected to operate their stadium at total capacity for the game. Events surrounding the Midsummer Classic would have meant a windfall for the local economy.

“Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tweeted. “Unfortunately, the removal of the @MLB All-Star game from GA is likely the 1st of many dominoes to fall until the unnecessary barriers put in place to restrict access to the ballot box are removed.”

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia) expressed hope that MLB would reconsider moving the game because of the economic impact it could have, mainly because the pandemic has crippled most businesses.

“Businesses and organizations have great power in their voices and ability to push for change. I respect the decision of the players to speak out against this unjust law,” Warnock said. “It is not the people of Georgia or the workers of Georgia who crafted this law. It is politicians seeking to retain power at the expense of Georgians’ voices. And today’s decision by MLB is the unfortunate consequence of these politicians’ actions.

“It is my hope that businesses, athletes, and entertainers can protest this law not by leaving Georgia but by coming here and fighting voter suppression head-on, and hand-in-hand with the community,” he said. “Additionally, the urgency to pass federal voter protection laws grows every day, and I will continue to be a leader in that fight.”

Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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