MLB To Move All-Star Game Out Of Atlanta In Response To Georgia Voting Laws

MLB will move the 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft out of Atlanta as a consequence of Georgia’s restrictive new election laws, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Friday.

“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 added.

It’s unclear where the All-Star Game, originally scheduled for July 13 at Atlanta’s Truist Park, might be held now.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms met the news with grim resignation.

“Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected,” she tweeted Friday. “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.” 

The Atlanta Braves said they were “deeply disappointed” by MLB moving events from their city, but came out in support of voting rights. 

“This was neither our decision, nor our recommendation and we are saddened that fans will not be able to see this event in our city,” the team said in a statement. “The Braves organization will continue to stress the importance of equal voting opportunities and we had hoped our city could use this event as a platform to enhance the discussion.”

In an interview with ESPN on Wednesday, President Joe Biden told SportsCenter host Sage Steele he would be supportive if MLB decided to decamp for a more hospitable state.

“The very people who are victimized the most are the people who are leaders in these very sports,” Biden told ESPN. “And it’s just not right. This is Jim Crow on steroids, what they’re doing there in Georgia and 40 other states.”

Last week, Georgia’s Republican-controlled government pushed through sweeping new restrictions that limit access to the ballot box. Among other things, the law imposes strict voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, limits ballot drop-box locations, gives the legislature greater control over elections, and criminalizes offering food and water to voters standing in line.

The heads of Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, which are both headquartered in Georgia, have denounced the legislation.

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey called the law “a step backwards” in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday. “This legislation is wrong and needs to be remediated,” he said.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian told employees in a memo that “the entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections.”

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