Major League Baseball (MLB) hit a grand slam by yanking the All-Star Game from Atlanta in protest of Georgia’s voter suppression law passed by Republicans last month. It’s too bad the Atlanta Braves didn’t exercise the same courage.
Georgia Republicans passed a voter suppression law that severely restricts how people can cast a ballot ahead of the 2022 and 2024 Elections in a clear scheme to stay in power in the swing state. Democrats captured both Senate seats in the state in 2020 and President Joe Biden won the state by 11,000 votes.
Now Republicans are restricting absentee voting and even going so far as to bar people from giving voters water and food as they stand in a long line to cast a ballot. The measures are draconian and have sparked uproar across the nation as the GOP continues to assault democracy.
Americans have responded by boycotting Georgia-based corporations and have called upon sports organizations to cancel events in the state to pressure lawmakers to repeal the law.
And MLB answered the call to action by taking the All-Star Game away from the city of Atlanta.
“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. 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,” Commissioner Robert Manfred, Jr. said in a statement.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” Manfred continued. “In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”
Indeed, Major League Baseball is especially making the right decision since it had planned to honor Hank Aaron, a home run hero and civil rights advocate.
“We will continue with our plans to celebrate the memory of Hank Aaron during this season’s All-Star festivities,” Manfred concluded. “In addition, MLB’s planned investments to support local communities in Atlanta as part of our All-Star Legacy Projects will move forward. We are finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly.”
This is the kind of action that other corporations and sports organizations need to take to put the maximum pressure on Georgia Republicans to do the right thing. Unfortunately, the Atlanta Braves could not be bothered to live up to their own name because they cowardly spoke out against MLB’s decision.
“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 Braves 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. Our city has always been known as a uniter in divided times and we will miss the opportunity to address issues that are important to our community. Unfortunately, businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision.”
Considering many fans are actually being victimized by this Jim Crow law, it’s the Atlanta Braves who are aiding and abetting the Republicans in stripping away their civil and voting rights. They should be ashamed. The only way Republicans are going to stop their war on democracy is if everyone stands up to them. MLB did the right thing. Other sports should follow suit.
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