Major League Baseball is pulling their All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to a new Republican-backed law that is purposely designed to make it harder for Georgians to vote.
The decision comes after business leaders from across the country spoke out against the new law. American Express CEO, Kenneth Chenault, urged corporate America to put aside partisanship and “take a stand.”
“We’re calling on corporate America to publicly oppose any discriminatory legislation and all measures designed to limit Americans’ ability to vote,” Chenault told Reuters, adding, “American companies need to take a stand.”
Manfred’s statement went further, saying he reached out to current and former players on the matter and decided to not only pull the All-Star Game from the state but the MLB Draft also.
“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. “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.”
The Georgia voter law, recently signed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp, severely restricts ballot access in the state. It introduces barriers to voters to access and submit absentee ballots, prohibits the distribution of water and food in voting lines, limits voting hours, and shifts control of state elections to the legislature instead of the secretary of state while also giving legislators more control over county election officials. All of these moves are designed to effectively disenfranchise Democratic voters, and opponents describe it as “Jim Crow 2.0.”
President Joe Biden said he would “strongly support” moving the All-Star Game in an interview with ESPN this week. “Look at what’s happened across the board. The very people who are victimized the most are the people who are the leaders in these various sports, and it’s just not right,” Biden said. “This is Jim Crow on steroids, what they’re doing in Georgia and 40 other states.”
Stacey Abrams, a former Democratic state legislator who ran for governor of Georgia in 2018 and has been organizing around voting rights since, said she was “disappointed” the game will be moved “but proud of [MLB’s] stance on voting rights.”
MLB has not yet announced a new location for the game.