MLB moving All-Star Game from Georgia in response to voting restrictions

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NEW YORK (41NBC/WMGT/AP) – Major League Baseball has moved the All-Star Game from Atlanta’s Truist Park, a response to Georgia enacting a new law last month restricting voting rights.

MLB had awarded the game to Atlanta on May 29, 2019, and the game was scheduled for July 13 as part of baseball’s midsummer break that includes the Futures Game on July 11 and Home Run Derby the following night.

The Atlanta Braves said they are disappointed and added, “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.”

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made the decision to move the All-Star events and the amateur draft, which had been scheduled to be held in Atlanta for the first time.

Governor Brian Kemp’s Office is also reacting to the news. In a news release, Governor Kemp said, “Major League Baseball caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies.”

Voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams also said she was disappointed by the news, saying, “As I have stated, I respect boycotts, although I don’t want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs. Georgians targeted by voter suppression will be hurt as opportunities go to other states.”

Here’s the news release from MLB:

Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. issued the following statement today regarding the 2021 All-Star Game:

“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.

“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. 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.

“We will continue with our plans to celebrate the memory of Hank Aaron during this season’s All-Star festivities. 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.”

The Atlanta Braves released this statement following MLB’s announcement:

The Atlanta Braves are deeply disappointed by the decision of Major League Baseball to move its’ 2021 All Star Game.

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 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.

We will continue to support the community legacy projects which have been planned and are in process.

Statement from Governor Kemp, Speaker Ralston on MLB All-Star Game:

Atlanta, GA – Following Major League Baseball’s decision to move the 2021 MLB All-Star Game from Georgia, Governor Brian P. Kemp and House Speaker David Ralston issued the following statements:

“Today, Major League Baseball caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies,” said Governor Kemp. “Georgians – and all Americans – should fully understand what the MLB’s knee-jerk decision means: cancel culture and woke political activists are coming for every aspect of your life, sports included. If the left doesn’t agree with you, facts and the truth do not matter.

“This attack on our state is the direct result of repeated lies from Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams about a bill that expands access to the ballot box and ensures the integrity of our elections. I will not back down. Georgians will not be bullied. We will continue to stand up for secure, accessible, fair elections. Earlier today, I spoke with the leadership of the Atlanta Braves who informed me they do not support the MLB’s decision.”

“Stacey Abrams’ leftist lies have stolen the All-Star Game from Georgia,” said Speaker David Ralston. “This decision is not only economically harmful, it also robs Georgians of a special celebration of our national pastime free of politics. But Georgia will not be bullied by socialists and their sympathizers. We will continue to stand for accessible, secure elections that are free and fair. And we will continue to speak truth despite extortion and intimidation.”

Statement from Stacey Abrams:

ATLANTA — Today, Fair Fight Action Founder Stacey Abrams issued the following statement:

Republicans who passed and defended Senate Bill 202 did so knowing the economic risks to our state. They prioritized making it harder for people of color to vote over the economic well-being of all Georgians.

Like many Georgians, I am disappointed that the MLB is relocating the All-Star game; however, I commend the players, owners and League commissioner for speaking out. I urge others in positions of leadership to do so as well. As I have stated, I respect boycotts, although I don’t want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs. Georgians targeted by voter suppression will be hurt as opportunities go to other states. We should not abandon the victims of GOP malice and lies – we must stand together.

Georgia Republicans must renounce the terrible damage they have caused to our voting system and the harm they have inflicted on our economy. Our corporate community must get off the sidelines as full partners in this fight, acknowledging that the provisions of SB 202 do not expand voting rights. They restrict those rights, affecting employees and consumers alike. And leaders must publicly support the voting rights provisions in the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to mitigate the harm being done in Georgia and other states.

As other events, productions and businesses weigh whether to patronize Georgia, I urge those who can to come and speak out, and I urge those who are here to stay and fight, to stay and vote. We need you.