Baseball's All-Star Game moved from Atlanta over voting laws

Sunday, 04 Apr, 2021

Sun Trust Park in Atlanta, Georgia.

"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", MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred previously said he made the call to move the All-Star events and the amateur draft from Atlanta after discussions with individual players and the Players Alliance, an organization of Black players formed after the death of George Floyd previous year.

The Atlanta Braves responded to the Major League Baseball in a statement saying that their organization supports equal voting rights, but was disappointed by the decision to move the All-Star game.

The Atlanta Braves embarrassed themselves on Friday, in an angry statement that made sure everyone knew the Braves did not support or propose moving the game from their ballpark.

"We are saddened that fans will not be able to see this event in our city", the team said.

"We will continue to support the community legacy projects which have been planned and are in process".

As the newest owner in Major League Baseball, as part of the Boston Red Sox ownership group, LeBron James is one of Manfred's bosses. In Georgia we have a minimum of 17, with two additional Sundays that are optional for all counties in our state, ' Kemp said at a press conference on Saturday. "In addition, MLB's planned investments to support local communities in Atlanta as part of our All-Star Legacy Projects will move forward".

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made the decision to move the All-Star events and the amateur draft from Atlanta after discussions with individual players and the Players Alliance, an organization of Black players formed after the death of George Floyd a year ago, the commissioner said in a statement. It would have been the third time Atlanta served as host, having previously held the event in 1972 and 2000. The provision instead intends to apply to people passing out advertisements, or gifts, something already contained in similar laws in Minnesota, Montana, and NY, which has a likewise policy that applies to "meat, drink, tobacco, refreshment, or provision".

Three groups already have filed a lawsuit over the new law, which adds greater legislative control over how elections are run and includes strict identification requirements for voting absentee by mail. Georgia recently passed the "Election Integrity Act of 2021", a bill that makes multiple changes to the voting process in the state, making it more hard to vote by mail or without a valid ID. But election workers are still allowed to give voters water, Kemp said; it's just political organizations and "anyone else " who aren't allowed to "harass or electioneer voters who are waiting in line to vote, within the 150-foot buffer", he said.

Curtis Granderson, president of the alliance and a three-time All-Star in 16 Major League Baseball seasons, was among those who spoke to Manfred as he consulted stakeholders about the decision.

Kemp defended the law that has sparked nationwide scrutiny and become a lightning rod in the balloting box debate.

"Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola and Delta may be scared of Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden and the left, but I am not", he said, referring to companies that have also criticized the new law. "I will not back down".

David Ralston, the Republican Speaker of the Georgia House, said Georgia will not "be bullied by socialists and their sympathizers" regardless of the MLB's decision. "We will continue to stand for accessible, secure elections that are free and fair".

Los Angeles Lakers legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who is also a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, praised Manfred's decision to pull the game. But MLB is moving the All-Star Game because you need an ID to vote? He and other Republicans have denounced criticism of the law as a political game by state and national Democratic leaders.