Major League Baseball’s Players Association is “open” to discussing moving the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta, Georgia, following the state’s decision to enact a comprehensive anti-vote fraud bill aimed at curbing the abuse of absentee and mail-in voting provisions.
The Georgia bill has been framed as an attack on voting rights, particularly of minorities, but as the Daily Wire’s Ashe Schow reported on Saturday, the bill actively prevents activist organizations from electioneering and restricts voting by mail, following concerns that voting rights activists may have abused provisions in the law. As Fox News reported late last year, groups, including one run by former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, are under investigation by the Georgia Secretary of State for “seeking to ‘aggressively’ register ‘ineligible, out-of-state, or deceased voters’ before the state’s Jan. 5 Senate runoff elections.”
Black Lives Matter organizations, however, say the bill is aimed at preventing minorities from exercising their right to vote in Georgia just as minority voters have become a force within the state, and they are now pressuring sports organizations, like the MLB and the PGA to move major sporting events from Georgia.
“Major sporting events could be moved out of the state of Georgia if calls from Civil Rights groups are to be listened to,” the Daily Mail reported Saturday. “Calls to move The Masters golf tournament and for the MLB All-Star game to be moved come after the state passed a controversial voting law Thursday.”
“Republican supporters say the new law is needed to restore confidence in Georgia’s elections. Democrats say it will restrict voting access, especially for voters of color,” the outlet continued. “But the effects on sporting events could be felt imminently if demands are adhered.”
The National Black Justice Coalition made their demands to the PGA in a letter late last week. “The PGA Tour and Masters Tournament have both made commitments to help diversify golf and address racial inequities in this country – and we expect them to not only speak out against Georgia’s new racist voter suppression law – but to also take action” by moving the tournament, typically played at Augusta National Golf Course.
Barring that, the NBJC is calling on players to boycott the tournament.
The MLB has not spoken on the possibility of moving the All-Star Game, scheduled to be played in Atlanta, but the MLBPA said Saturday that they are open to discussing the idea.
“Major League Baseball is scheduled to play its 2021 All-Star Game this summer at Truist Park, located in Atlanta, Georgia. Yet with less than a week to go until Opening Day, the MLB Players Association appears open to discussing whether or not the event should be relocated in response to recent legislative developments in the state,” CBS Sports reported. “MLB Players Association director Tony Clark told the Boston Globe that the union body is ‘very much aware’ of the bill signed by Georgia governor Brian Kemp on Thursday that overhauled the state’s election laws.”
“Players are very much aware of the Georgia voting bill, which places restrictions on voting that some believe will make it particularly difficult for black voters to reach the polls,” Clark said. “As it relates to the All-Star Game, we have not had a conversation with the league on that issue. If there is an opportunity to, we would look forward to having that conversation.”
Activists are also calling on major corporations headquartered in Georgia, like Coca-Cola, to take a stand against the law. So far, despite being fully invested in diversity initiatives, the company has not spoken on the law.
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