Republican lawmakers criticized Major League Baseball following their announcement to relocate the 2021 All-Star Game, originally scheduled to take place in Atlanta.
The decision to relocate was in response to the new Georgia state law requiring voter identification. This law, S.B. 202, includes restrictions on absentee and mail-in voting, expanding voter ID requirements, and restrictions on non-poll workers providing food and drink to voters waiting in line at polling centers. After much deliberation with the teams, former and current players, the MLB Players Association, and The Players Alliance, MLB Commissioner, Robert Manfred, delivered a statement replying to the passage of S.B. 202. Manfred explained the choice to move the game was “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport.”
He continued, “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.” The announcement drew criticism from Republicans who argue the law is crucial to securing the integrity of Georgia’s elections. Local critics were Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and House Speaker David Ralston who have vocally backed the law. The cancelation has caused Republicans to highlight MLB’s hypocrisy which includes the organization’s requirement to show identification to obtain game day tickets at will call.
Ralston claimed, “Stacey Abrams’ leftist lies have stolen the All-Star Game from Georgia,” referencing the voting rights activist who protested the law. He added, “This decision is not only economically harmful, but it also robs Georgians of a special celebration of our national pastime free of politics. But Georgia will not be bullied by socialists and their sympathizers. We will continue to stand for accessible, secure elections that are free and fair. And we will continue to speak the truth despite extortion and intimidation.” Additionally, Gov. Kemp said MLB had “caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies” when deciding to relocate the game. Kemp declared, “Georgians – and all Americans – should fully understand what the MLB’s knee-jerk decision means: cancel culture and woke political activists are coming for every aspect of your life, sports included.”
The criticism of MLB’s decision wasn’t limited to the Republicans from Georgia. Utah Sen. Mike Lee and South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan proposed that Congress should consider revoking the league’s federal antitrust exemption. Rep. Duncan even directed his staff to begin drafting a bill. As for now, the MLB will announce its new host city shortly. However, the Atlanta Braves, who were set to host the All-Star Game at their home stadium, Truist Park, said they were “deeply disappointed” with the decision. Nevertheless, President Biden claimed that he would “strongly support” a decision to relocate the game as he referred to Georgia’s voting law as “Jim Crow on steroids.”
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ARTICLE: GABRIELLA ANTOS
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
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