Newswire : MLB moving All-Star Game, Draft out of Georgia, amid outcry over voting law

Baseball Stadium Major League Baseball (MLB)

By: Thompson/Reuters

Commissioner Robert Manfred said the league was relocating its 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft from Atlanta, following outcry over Georgia’s new voting restrictions. “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,” Manfred said in a written statement. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.” Georgia last week strengthened identification requirements for absentee ballots, shortened early voting periods for runoffs and made it a crime to offer food and water to voters waiting in line. The law, which was endorsed by the state’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp, faces legal challenges as civil rights groups say it aims to suppress voting among Black people and other racial minorities. Kemp in a statement insists that the new law “expands voting opportunities in Georgia”. Democratic President Joe Biden has been sharply critical of the law and on Wednesday said he would support moving the July All-Star Game out of the state as a form of protest, telling ESPN “This is Jim Crow on steroids what they’re doing in Georgia.” Commissioner Manfred said MLB made the decision after consulting with individual clubs as well as current and former players, adding the league was finalizing plans for a new host city. “Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support,” said Manfred, a day after the league kicked off its 2021 regular season. The Atlanta Braves issued a statement on Twitter saying the hometown organization was “deeply disappointed by the decision.” It stressed the move was neither its decision nor its recommendation, and it expressed sadness that “fans will not be able to see this event in our city.” The team added, though, that it would “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.” “Unfortunately, businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision,” the Braves org said. The lucrative All-Star Game is a coveted hosting opportunity for ballparks across North America. At press time, MLB announced that the All Star Game would be held at Denver’s Mile High Stadium in Colorado.

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