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MLB Moving All-Star Game, Draft Out of Ga. Amid Outcry Over Voting Law

MLB Moving All-Star Game, Draft Out of Ga. Amid Outcry Over Voting Law
(Dreamstime)

Friday, 02 April 2021 04:09 PM

Major League Baseball (MLB) 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’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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.

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom appeared to offer up his home state for the hosting gig shortly after the announcement, tweeting: "Hey @MLB — feel free to give us a call. In California we actually work to expand voter access -- not prevent it."

© 2021 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Newsfront
Major League Baseball (MLB) 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. "Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans...
baseball
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2021-09-02
Friday, 02 April 2021 04:09 PM
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