MLB Moves 2021 All-Star Game From Atlanta, in Protest of Georgia Law Passed by Republicans to Restrict Voting Access

Anthony Castrovince, reporting for

Major League Baseball announced on Friday that it will relocate the 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft, originally scheduled to take place in Atlanta, to a to-be-determined location. The decision comes a little more than a week after the passage of S.B. 202, a Georgia law that President Joe Biden criticized earlier this week, saying that it will restrict voting access for residents of the state.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement that the decision to move the All-Star Game was “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport” and was made after consultation with teams, former and current players, the MLB Players Association and The Players Alliance, among others.

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

No fucking around on MLB’s part. Good for them. Here’s the deal: enact shameful laws, and the rest of society is going to react accordingly. Shame is powerful, and MLB is shaming the state of Georgia appropriately.

The Republican line is that this law is entirely about election integrity, and not about restricting voting access in Democratic-leaning areas. Bullshit. Here’s a NYT analysis of exactly what’s in the new law. Among other things, it restricts access to mail-in ballots, reduces the number of drop boxes in urban areas (the Atlanta metro area would go from 94 drop boxes in the last election to, at most, 23 in the next election). Most odious of all are restrictions on providing food and water to those waiting in line to vote. The fact that voters in some predominantly black precincts still have to wait upwards of two hours to cast their ballots is itself indefensible, but disallowing volunteers from offering them food and water while waiting in lines that should not exist in the first place is shameful.

Friday, 2 April 2021